Tandem Bar, Newtown: Review
127 King St, Newtown, NSW
Mon-Fri: 4pm – 12am, Sat: 3pm – 12am & Sun: 2pm -10pm
0410 525 733
Scandinavia is the land of the easy living and it has come to teach Newtowners a thing or two about cruisy drinking.
When you’ve had one of those days where your boss is being a pain or your coworkers are missing brain cells, Tandem Bar is where you want to end up. It exudes a perfect blend of utopia, matched with the chilled vibe that is expected in northern Europe. Think stress-numbing board games, mulled wine and streams of static lights that brighten the darkening sky. Think crisp bartenders who are not quite as hipster as you immediately think and who have reached that desired level of self-actualisation. Think smooth and boozy cocktails. Think subtle mood lighting. Think bliss.
But Tandem Bar is more than just a watering hole that offers sanctuary from life’s problems. This bar is a trendsetter too, breaking the Australian beverage market with a style of spirit that can only be found in Scandinavia: aquavit. It was only in February this year when owner and Scandinavian himself, Peter Lynn, along with his trusty team, decided to shake things up and restock the bar with aquavit.
“Being a Copenhagen-inspired bar, we wanted this to carry through everything we did,” said Peter. “With aquavit being the national spirit of Scandinavia, it was a logical progression ‒ especially considering its similarities to gin and its versatility in drinks.”
A quick nose or a mindless sip and you will see it’s not so different from vodka or gin, but let it linger on your taste buds a bit longer and you will notice the difference. You won’t find juniper seeds on the palate, but you will find caraway, mixed with a few other spices only found in northern Europe. And it’s safe to say that Tandem Bar is the first bar in Australia to make aquavit a main staple on their menu.
Perhaps the wonderful thing about aquavit is that the flavour adds an overarching savoury note, making it a perfect match for quirky and distinct foods; think pungent cheeses and pickled herrings.
Break into the aquavit world with a four-shot tasting flight for only $30 at Tandem Bar. There’s the Norwegian Linie sherry cask, two Danish blends called Aalborg Taffel and Aalborg Jubilæums that offer unsubtle differences and the Australian-made Never Never PS40 collaboration that is smoother than a 007 pick up line.
Once you’ve done a brief journey around Scandinavia, pick out a cocktail to start the evening. Be like James Bond and order an Aurora Martini. Unlike the average martini that comes with the sharp singe that is expected in these bar staples, the Aurora Martini goes down the hatch with a little more grace. The balance given from the pepper berry, orange bitters and vermouth make it a smooth treat after a stressful day.
But perhaps you’re wanting something a little more playful on the tongue? Go for the Thrift Shop Fizz, where you start off with a sweet and citrus taste and work your way down to a sharp and sour finish. Every sip is balanced with the distinct aroma of rosemary that sits casually in the rosemary and orange flavoured foam.
Or if you require an energetic pick-me-up, look no further than Clockwork Orange, featuring Linie aquavit, Aperol, tonka caramel, coffee and chocolate and orange bitters.
Whatever journey you take, consider matching it with a cheese board or a Danish burger.