Palmer & Co.
There’s a new speakeasy in town. Palmer & Co is the latest venue from the Merivale Group. This moody Prohibition era styled bar is found on Abercrombie Lane, a small laneway next to The Establishment megalith. Only launched on 19 May, the bar’s main entry is the fire door. Inside it’s all wood, wire and stone bathed in pools of golden light.
Meeting friends at another bar later that evening, I decided to pop by Palmer & Co to check out the decor and vibe. I haven’t worked in the Sydney CBD for almost 10 years so rarely patronise the nearby bars on a Friday. It may not be your idea of a fun afternoon, but with the bar almost empty at first, I was able to monopolise the attention of the staff. Originally, I’d thought of having a late lunch there too but was informed that the kitchen wasn’t opening until 5pm. Nibbling on bowl of nuts just had to do for the time being.
You know a place is going to be hot when Gourmet Traveller magazine is visiting the same afternoon to take photos of the decor and smartly outfitted staff. Look out for the Palmer & Co piece in their next issue. I was able to take this quick snap from the bar stool I was perched on.
I have to give a shout out to some of the great bar staff although I didn’t catch all the names. Maryanne, Ben, Jordan et al…were all remarkably helpful, friendly and a dab hand at making cocktails. Perusing the menu, I was struck by the impressive range of spirits available at Palmer & Co. On the gin menu alone, 31 different kinds were listed.
I asked Ben which was the best gin amongst those the bar offered and he suggested I try Monkey 47. A German gin first created in the Black Forest (First it was cake and ham and now gin? The Black Forest can do no wrong) it’s only been in production since 2010. Blackberry leaves, honeysuckle, pine shoots and cranberries are just some of the 47 botanicals that are infused before the gin is later aged in clay pots. Bottled in 500ml brown apothecary vials, it’s amazingly fresh and fragrant. I had it on the rocks with a tiny splash of tonic.
I consider myself a chatty introvert. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive. So I had a great time talking to the congenial staff and asking for their cocktail recommendations. There’s nothing like whiling away a few hours drinking cocktails in the afternoon for your friends to later express concerns about possible alcoholic tendencies. Honestly, I can go weeks without alcohol and not miss it. A fun time was had by all. And by all, I mean me.
With my friends delayed, I was able to linger for an hour longer at Palmer & Co. The clock ticking over past 5pm, I ordered a mac and cheese to help soak up some of my libations. It came out served with three slices of bread. Carb on carb? I can’t imagine eating mac and cheese with a bread chaser. Some lightly dressed leaves would have been better. But let’s face it, I wasn’t in the mood for salad on Friday. The food menu also includes charcuterie plates, a cheese board, sandwich of the day, vegetable crudites, chopped liver and a corned beef on rye.
Much as I’d like to keep Palmer & Co to myself, I know the word’s already getting out about this cool speakeasy. So for a good time call…
Palmer & Co
Abercrombie Lane, Sydney
Open Monday-Thursday 5pm–late; Friday 3pm–late; Saturday 5pm–late
Phone: (02) 9240 3172