“This really has the feel of Cuba” confided my BFF (BAR FLY friend) “and I’ve been four times.” From the moment you walk past the palm trees and down the stairs you’ll be swathed in a happy place. Round leather upholstery of the Chesterfield banquettes and old rock and roll encourage making new friends. As of course does the rum. The newly opened The Lobo Plantation has been five years in the making since Jared Merlino first dreamed of it.
We scouted the cocktail list and swam laps with my top pick Hollywood’s Esther Williams ($17). The Lobo Plantation bar is dedicated to Julius Lobo (1898 – 1983) who was, we are told, a powerful sugar trader and financier from the late 1930s to 1960 when he left Cuba to go into exile. The drinks list explains the Hollywood starlet Esther Williams swam laps in a pool filled with perfume finance by Mr Lobo himself. And the actual The Lobo Plantation drink is a delicate combination of Matusalem Platino, Roussanne white wine, elderflower cordial and orange bitters. I felt totally old world Hollywood glamorous while drinking it!
Although my BFF declares she is not usually a gin girl, on these premises she is the powerful and seductive Queen Bee ($17). With her Beefeater gin, the boys behind the bar added lemon juice and saffron infused honey. Like they say “we all know that it is the women that rule the hive and so they should.”
Or for entertainment value as well as an excellent drink you might like to try the Message in a Bottle($17). We were encouraged to try this drink by one of our new found Chesterfield sharing friends.
When we it was finally time to leave, I left my BFF waiting outside for me, for a little too long. Somehow on the way out I got talking to the boys behind the bar… again… While the crew here have pedigree they are also humble. “We’re just learning about rum.” I’m looking forward to learning more about it – together.
And of course if for some reason rum is not your thing, there is an excellent selection of whisky and tequila, Champagnes and other wines, beers and ciders
PS you must eat the food; it is really scrumptious. We most enjoyed the Tamales en Cazuela. But would happily pig out on Pork Crackling or any of the other bar food treats.
The Lobo Plantation
Basement 209 Clarence Street, Sydney Australia
+61 4 1555 4908
An excerpt of this review was published as my BAR FLY column for the Alternative Media Group newspapers.