David Lynch and tiki culture are the inspiration for Jacoby's, a brand-new bar by a top-notch Sydney team.
Jacoby's, the dark-tiki bar from the team behind Earl's Juke Joint in Newtown, opens its doors this weekend after more than a year of anticipation. Inspired partly by the dark underbelly of tiki culture and partly by David Lynch, auteur and patron saint of dark underbellies, the idea for the Enmore bar came to Earl's Juke Joint co-owner Pasan Wijesena, general manager James Fury and their colleague Adrian Sanchez last year while drinking at Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. "In all our travels, we always end up loving tiki bars the best," says Wijesena. "The laid-back vibe, the music, the kitschy fit-outs - what's not to love?"
There's been no holding back on the theme at Jacoby's. The focus is firmly on rum classics, and remixing lesser-known tiki drinks from the '50s. The Tropical Itch subs in Bulleit rye for the bourbon while Tiki Ti's Puka Punch rides again with Tanqueray, yellow Chartreuse and Fassionola syrup. The tight 10-cocktail core list is complemented by Mai Tais and other Tiki standards made to order.
The bar takes its name from a character in David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks: Dr Lawrence Jacoby, Laura Palmer's psychiatrist and a tiki obsessive. "We love the noir, darker aspects of tiki culture," says Wijesena. "At the end of the day, you're drinking out of a shrunken head."
But the team haven't lost sight of the lighter side. A careful read of the cocktail menu is rewarded with one-liners like "Contains more sting than The Police" and Twin Peaks in-jokes about Agent Cooper's love of coffee.
Wines are organised by shade, with a particular focus on rosé and orange wines, "echoing the hues of a Hawaiian sunset", according to Wijesena. Local minimal-intervention players like Brave New Wines and Lucy Margaux are there, as are drops from France, Italy and Georgia. Beers include Jamaica's Red Stripe Pale Lager and an IPA and golden ale from Hawaiian brewery Kona.
All the syrups and shrubs are made in-house, Wijesena tells us. "I'm also interested in utilising vinegars, tinctures and cold-drip infusions, again reaffirming a bartender's real guise as a nerdy shut-in rather than a loud party boy," he says. Toasted sandwiches provide the ballast.
Sydney has other venues with tiki in their DNA (The Cliff Dive, from fellow Shady Pines alumni Jeremy Blackmore and Alex Dowd notable among them) but Wijesena says Jacoby's point of difference is that it's smaller, "almost like being in someone's over-the-top rumpus room until 2am". The design harks back to the '50s and '60s, but with a touch of '90s eccentricity and vintage Tropicália. "It has that sense of something that's been boarded up and hidden away for decades, only to be revealed in all its seedy, strange and wonderful glory."
Jacoby's, 154 Enmore Rd, Enmore, NSW. Open from 18 August 2017, Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri & Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 5pm-12pm.