Drac Hammond: Five Things I Love About Sydney

Rebecca Varidel
26th Jan 2022

Drac Hammond will be releasing his namesake debut EP early next month, although you'll already know him (musically). For the last 15 years, Elliott Hammond has been a touring musician spending the majority of his year on the road. Elliott’s touring and recording accolades are wide and varied and too long to list but include The Delta Riggs, Dope Lemon, Sticky Fingers, Wolfmother, F-Pos, Dan Sultan, Hayley Mary, All Day, Elliphant and Gold Fang.

How did he get the name Drac?

"The touring has gotten easier due to some success, but the time away from home does affect your lifestyle and personal relationships with your friends and loved ones. My friends gave me the nickname Dracula as I keep obscure hours when I am at home. It's hard to readjust when your body is kind of wired to 'switch on' at 10pm from so many years of touring. Regularly taking dinner down at Cafe Roma at 1am or replying to emails at some oddball hour, the joke was they never saw me in the sunlight or during the day. When the opportunity to release some solo material came up I abbreviated it and now we have Drac."

And the scoop on the five things he loves about Sydney?

#1 Manhattan Superbowl - Mascot

This is hands down the best bowling alley in Sydney, possibly Australia. It still amazes me that this place hasn't been overtaken by Hipsters looking to introduce a hotdog cart. It has all the great characteristics of greatness in a classic Big Lebowski fashion. High ceilings, checkered black and white tiles at the milkshake stand. An old two tone Chevy literally sits next to the bathroom and if you are charming enough to the manager he will take you 'backstage' where you can sit and watch all the mechanics and robotic arms replacing the pins. I like to go back there and imagine snotty nosed teenagers in the 50's hanging out back smoking their Dad's cigarettes reading Archie & Veronica comics with baggy caps on. The wooden flooring was actually discovered by accident. There's more to that story though and not enough time. 

#2 The Royal Botanic Gardens - Sydney

Covid has decapitated the Australian music industry in ways that may never fully recover. One of the few positives as a touring musician has been getting my weekends back and for the first time in my adult life being able to have a home 'routine' which took some getting used to. Fortunately I live about a 10 minute walk from the Botanical Gardens, they are amazing to walk through with a good parka on in the rain in winter. You can smell all of the plants and hear their conversations when it is raining very softly and during the week you will be lucky to run into someone, it's pretty much like having a private secret garden at my doorstep. It's also great for taking some sandwiches, a bottle of wine and a good book or the weekend papers on a Sunday which I do with my partner every other weekend in the warmer months.

#3 Daryl's Motors - St Peters

Cars are a bit of a hobby for me. In 2016 after a US tour with The Riggs I bought a 1963 Chrysler Newport Coupe, fell in love with it and ended up shipping it back to Australia. As any old car enthusiast would know there is never ending maintenance which for me is a great hobby and distraction from music. You need a good mechanic though. Darryl has created more than just a workshop, his place has a charm and vibe of an old school clubhouse. You can go there and have a beer cruise through the workshop (there are endless motorcycles and great classic cars to get excited about) enjoy great curated music, smell oil, have a great chat and get your car serviced at the same time! Admittedly the majority of the time I just go in to hang out!

#4 Bar Reggio - Darlinghurst

Sydney has no shortage of great restaurants but if you want some no frills classic trattoria style Italian food with all the bustle and love of a family style establishment it's hard to look past Bar Reggio. The place is an absolute institution and staple in Darlinghurst. Again it has some wild history. There was a shoot out there in the early 2000's and the outdoor beer garden with gorgeous art and natural sunlight is the best way to start the week (Mondays are insane it's super quiet) for a long lunch or even by yourself with a book. The Delta Riggs also have a pizza on the menu. That's a big deal for us. Say hi to Antony

#5 Jangling Jacks - Potts Point

Being a Pott's Pointer there are a myriad of bars and pubs to choose from. I frequent them all and feel like I am going to get into trouble by the proprietors when I see them next for not shouting them all out, but I couldn't just list bars. That would have been too obvious. This place [Jangling Jacks] is pretty much flawless. I actually can't fault it. Amazing kitchen, a long sprawling bar filled with an unreal selection of natural wines and obscure spirits, they keep a bottle of Fernet Branca in the ice tray. Class. The bar staff are total pro's and the music is bang on. The lighting is perfect for me as I suffer from photophobia and they keep it at a good level of capacity so you never feel boxed in even though the place is cozy.

Photo credit Lucy Landini