What to expect when the legendary Employees Only opens in Sydney

Out of all the excellent new openings populating Sydney’s hospitality scene before 2019 kicks off, few are as high-profile as this one. Employees Only, the award-winning speakeasy born in New York’s West Village and often referred to as one of the world’s best, is finally ready to open it’s doors in Sydney’s CBD. It will be spearheaded by co-founder Dushan Zaric, who was one of the main players in getting the New York bar the reputation it now enjoys, while the venue will be managed by Sydney local Anna Fang

Though it started in New York, Employees Only has opened iterations in Hong Kong, Singapore and Miami over the past years, all critically acclaimed for their premium cocktails and refined food offerings. Sydney will follow that legacy, filling in the guts of a heritage-listed basement on Barrack Street with an exclusive fit-out by famed interior designer Tim Leveson, who will blend unique elements in with plenty of Employees Only references.

“New York is the bar that is great every night of the week, every month of the year, in every kind of weather,” explained Robert Krueger who is part of the New York team. “It’s this energy that we’re really wanting to bring to Sydney. We’re excited to work with the incredible local bar community, together helping to reinvigorate Sydney’s nightlife and bring it back onto the global stage”.

Importantly, Employees Only will be as much about the service industry as it is about the general population that come through it’s doors each and every night. The brand has always been about taking care of the local bar community, so expect the Sydney outpost to do just that by creating a space the hospitality industry can call their own no matter the hour.

A few signature cocktails that helped bring the New York bar into fame will be recreated on the Sydney menu, as well as a bespoke list of exclusives, pioneering future classics that will sit alongside expected concoctions like the Amelia, made with vodka, elderflower liqueur, pureed blackberries and fresh lemon and the Provençal, made with lavender-infused gin, stirred with Herbs de Provence infused vermouth and Cointreau.

The more edible side of the menu will be upheld by a New York-bistro style selection led by Head Chef Aurelien Girault, sporting an exploratory and wide-reaching approach with dishes like steak tartare, made with hand cut filet mignon, roasted tomato puree, parsley, Dijon, capers, shallots and Employees Only hot sauce; pancetta wrapped lamb chops with salsa verde; the bone marrow popper, complete with a pastry shell and bordelaise sauce and the classic house-made Cavatelli, with pork sausage, tomato, rocket and parmesan cheese.

“Employees Only is a space for Sydneysiders to enjoy, whatever stage of the evening, whether it’s oysters and martinis at 6pm, steak tartare and wine at 8pm, Manhattans after dinner or simply because you feel like champagne.”

Employees Only Sydney will be open in November, stayed tuned to the AU for more details as they are released.

Feature image: Joe Cheng.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review, an obsessive hip hop nerd, a whisky drinker, and a lover of all things travel. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter with @chrisdsingh.