Maybe Sammy, the first cocktail bar from the owners of Maybe Frank, will open in The Rocks in Sydney tomorrow (Wednesday 9 January).
Maybe Sammy is co-owned by Maybe Frank founders Stefano Catino and Vince Lombardo, as well as Maybe Frank’s creative director, Andrea Gualdi. It’s Gualdi – the Australian winner of Diageo World Class 2017 and global top 4 finalist – who has taken the lead on the Maybe Sammy cocktail list.
Gualdi will be supported by Martin Hudak and Balazs Molnar, with the former joining Maybe Sammy from one of the most iconic hotel cocktail bars in the world, American Bar at The Savoy (London).
The design of the venue is described as “Hollywood Regency-meets-Palm Springs”, with bold lighting enhancing the pink and green velvet on the walls, smoked mirrors, indoor trees and pink tropical wallpaper.
Eight signature cocktails lead the main drinks list, all modern interpretations of a classic cocktail with a theatrical twist. Each of the eight are named after some of the Rat Pack’s favourite haunts: for example, Circus Circus (Bulleit Rye whiskey, Martini Ambrato vermouth, mint, poblano, delivered with a ‘magic trick’); Lady Luck, which is presented with a house-made scented hand cream to give guests a sensory experience as they drink (Ketel One vodka, mango, passionfruit, lemon) and Thunderbird, featuring house-made jasmine kombucha (Aperol, Americano Cocchi wine, Becherovka, jasmine kombucha, grape rocks).
Supporting the signature cocktails are ‘Minis’ (a small rotating tasting menu of classic cocktails, each priced at $10), and ‘High Rollers’, a collection of cocktails for guests with money to spend. Starting from $70, the list includes the Champagne Cocktail made with Hennessy XO cognac, champagne, sugar, bitters and orange zest ($110) and Dean Martin’s signature cocktail, Flame of Love Martini with Grey Goose VX vodka, Fino Sherry and orange zest ($80).
Coffee is also a priority at Maybe Sammy, with Hudak – 2017 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion (pictured below) – assembling a punchy coffee menu incorporating beans sourced for the venue from Costa Rica and roasted by the team.
He’s also created a selection of coffee cocktails including Sammy Shakerato (single shot Ethiopian Kochere Natural, Campari, Limoncello), Espresso Martiki (Nitro espresso, Plantation pineapple rum, Mr Black, mango, banana) and an Irish Coffee (Redbreast 12yo Irish whiskey, Costa Rica Azul Natural, honey, sugar, cream).
The booze-free cocktails (referred to by the bar as ‘Purification’ cocktails) have also been given their fair share of attention; non-drinking guests can enjoy a Ciao Ciao Bambino (Seedlip grove, coffee, citrus, tonic), Four of Kind (Seedlip Garden, seaweed, verjuice, wattle cola), or the kombucha of the week.
While serious attention has been paid to the drinks list and the design of the venue, co-owner Vince Lombardo says that it’s “fun” that is really at the heart of Maybe Sammy.
“You can have the best bartenders, an amazing cocktail list and a beautiful space but if none of that is delivered with personality, then you’re just another cocktail bar,” says Lombardo.
“The experience of drinking at Maybe Sammy will be what is most memorable, and our bar staff are at the heart of that. They take their craft seriously, but they know how to have fun and they want to make sure that everyone who has a drink with us, enjoys the venue as much as we do.
“We’ve spent a year refining the concept, from cocktail list to the interiors to what we want our staff to wear and have produced a venue we hope sets a new standard in Sydney.”
The venue boasts a capacity of 70, with seating split between pink velvet banquets and leather-clad seats and stools. A small bar food menu will keep punters’ snack cravings at bay, but if you can’t tell already, at Maybe Sammy it’s all about the drinks.