Sydney people of a certain age light up when they hear the word Deans! It brings back late night nostalgia of the best kind, remembering ending up in Kings Cross through the 80's 90's and naughties in the wee hours of the morning. The Kellett Street bar Deans had a hole in the wall ordering system that dished up not only cocktails but the famous Monstrous Nachos and Sticky Date Pudding - before either of these dishes were popular in the broader suburban way that they are today.
Now Deans has been reborn!! Dean's Lounge is situated next door to the original Deans (with no apostrophe - you can see on the original 80s and 90s menus). With big news that the reborn Dean's Lounge, in a city that went to sleep, is now open until 3am! Feels of the old days!!
There are nostalgic attractions at Dean's Lounge even for those that didn't frequent the infamous red light Kellett Street and original Deans in its first hey day. The vintage juke box pumps out tunes for you to sing along, while the 80's arcade cabinet has the cult retro-gamers cheering. The vintage decor, furniture and posters make our hearts go pitter patter. Love the table tiles.
And the history lesson gets even better better best, as the now current bar manager used to hang out at Deans as a small kid - in the kitchen while his mum cooked. That's how we got to see the original 80's and 90's menus, and even her original hand written recipes. So the new bar incarnation comes to you with a huge infusion not just of nostalgia, but also of big love.
Yet don't be mistaken, Dean's Lounge stands on its own as a top Sydney bar of quality for any generation. And is as young and cool as a Sydney bar can be. We'd go so far as saying it's one of our top cocktail bars in Sydney right now, up there with the best cocktail lists that Sydney has to offer. And note well - with no premix thank God!
The Dean's Signatures are mighty awesome, inventive, texturally complex yet clean, and showing an understanding of the booze and the neighbourhood. Queens Cross adds Nashi pear, vanilla and chamomile soda to vodka and lemon juice. More robust, Brooklyn Sunset makes use of a strawberry shrub, with Rittenhouse rye, dry vermouth and absinthe. Swoon... Featured at the top of the classics is the World Class winning Penicillin invented by Aussie Sam Ross, albeit when he was working at the seminal New York bar, Milk & Honey. Sam is Aussie, nonetheless. So it's great to see Aussie cocktails heading the classics list.
Cocktails, glasses, ice are all premium the way we want them. Even the garnish is executed with care, with that bitter white citrus pith skillfully removed. You can stick to cocktails, or travel with wines on an equally satisfying wine list.
2021 food provides more pleasure too. The Monstrous Nachos are there for the hungry. We loved them. The best bar bites we've uncovered though are the sensuous Spanikopita puff pastry double cooked toasties. Not only crispy deligh but oh so right totally bar appropriate fodder. If you want to end with life sweet, all that is good in the world can be added to your table. Or for the sweet tooths, even start with dessert if you like.
If you wander right down back of Dean's Lounge you can hang out at the bar. You could catch a visiting mate, perhaps another Kings Cross bar owner passing the time. Yet some punters don't even make it past the fairy lights in the front courtyard. That's a fine place to watch the world go by. And in between there are all kinds of nooks and crannies within Deans to sip and swoon and dream the late night world away.