Super Fly: a sexy, soulful and sophisticated Curtis Mayfield album that, if all goes to plan, will be the vibe at the new Double Deuce Lounge in Sydney.
The '70s-inspired cocktail bar, currently set to open in early June, is the new venue from the crew behind Gourmet Traveller's "downstairs office" and the city's much-loved dive-bar, Ramblin' Rascal Tavern.
The team has descended another set of CBD stairs, this time setting up in the basement of 6 Bridge Street, former home of the short-lived Bouche on Bridge. "We took over the bottom part, not the top restaurant, and extended the license to 2am," says co-owner Charlie Lehmann, one of three rascals. "I think it confused the bureaucrats because we finally got our DA, but we're still waiting for our liquor licence."
If there's a silver lining, it's that the delay has given them more time to work on the cocktails and the slightly more grown-up service. When the doors swing open, Lehmann and co-owners Sebastian "Cosmo" Soto and Dardan Shervashidze will be found working the door and floor as often as they do the bar. "All we really want to represent is the same philosophy we've always had," says Lehmann. "Have a good time, don't be a dick, but with table service and a cheeky smile."
Lehmann is known for wearing little more than a pair of denim overalls behind the bar, so naturally, a cheeky smile will come matched with an even cheekier uniform. "Lots of open shirts and big collars," he says. "I'm going to go and buy myself a safari suit for the nights I'm hosting. More chest than side-boob this time."
Guests will be greeted at the door and taken through a beaded curtain to one of the merlot banquettes, olive-green bar stools, or if you're lucky, the kissing booth: a cosy spot for two complete with a chocolate-brown furry wall. "Cosmo and I got really drunk and remembered Get Him to the Greek and 'stroke the furry wall'." says Lehmann. "It just felt like a really nice thing to have."
Where Rascal flies the flag for Cognac, Deuce (or Double Ds, depending on who you're talking to) shares the love a bit more. Expect plenty of upgrades on old-school classics – their Whisky Mac, for example, blends the go-to ginger wine with three different scotches, then kicks it up a gear with ginger essential oil and a splash of Sherry. "We're covering all bases," says Lehmann. "We want to bring back a lot of drinks: the Cosmopolitan, shots of Jim Beam White. We're going to try and make that lot cool again."
Newtown's P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants is behind the 15-bottle wine list (Canberra riesling! Friuli orange!) while the soul and sass of Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock and Mr Mayfield rule the speakers.
The venue's lease specifies "no substantial food" but rascals are known to bend the rules. They wish they could order in from nearby Mary's CQ (as Ramblin' Rascal does from Mary's CBD). "But keeping with the theme, we might settle for a really cheesy cabanossi, cubed cheese and Jatz plate instead," says Lehmann. Super fly and super fun.
Double Deuce Lounge is slated to open at 6 Bridge St, Sydney in early June.