Sitting and sipping in Sydney's best small bars every Monday. Check here for regular reviews.
The Baxter Inn is masculine and old American without being too much of either. Descend down into the dimly-lit drinking den and it will wrap you up in whisky-scented charm. Bottles tower behind the bar like religious relics and the object of worship is clear.
The faithful barhoppers settled in one chilly Anzac eve for some customary public holiday boozing. Behind the bar more than 360 whiskeys are stamped out in brazen gold letters and even the most picky whiskey drinker is sure to find a brooding liquor to his – or her – taste. For those of us who shy away from the darker poisons, the wine list certainly does not disappoint. It is long-winded no matter your preference and the choices kept even our resident wine snob well pleased.
Baxter Inn is one of the few places where you can perch yourself at the bar without feeling the slightest bit like a drunk or a broken-hearted misfit. The place glows softly with natural friendliness and old-fashioned charm. Apron-clad bartenders scamper up hardwood ladders to pull down your drink of choice. The freshly squeezed apple juice tastes as gorgeous and wholesome as it looks, and be sure that the bartenders will use their smooth-talking ways to sneak whisky into your drink. The service and atmosphere of the place is very hard to fault. A bartender joined us in our booth for a chat (only to be brutally shut down by a certain straight-talking barhopper) and the general comradery is contagious, with relatively sober strangers offering up their drinks for tasting at the bar. Oh and the pretzels. You won’t forget the pretzels – or avoid the pretzels – or stopping eating the pretzels – the supply is never-ending and the Baxter boys deliver them right under your nose with remarkable speed and a winning smile.
I assure you that this place is worth walking down a dark, deserted alleyway late at night. Any anxious heart thumping and flashbacks to those awful real crime programs will be quickly forgotten once you’re reclining in the candlelight, drink in hand. Oh and the bathrooms are a strange but delightful experience. Head sopping with wine, I went skipping into my own wonderful bathroom-land. I’m fairly certain the mirrors were warped…but I may be mistaken.
Baxter’s has created a heavenly place hidden away in the depths of the city. At the end of the night, we climbed out into the icy wind with content and wistful smiles, wrapped up in blankets of wine and with pretzel-filled dreams awaiting us at home.