Sydney's CBD is in for quite the (fizzy) shake-up when PS40, a combined bar and soda factory, opens this month on King Street.
Sydney bartender Michael Chiem (formerly of Sokyo, Cliff Dive and Bulletin Place) and Thor Bergquist (late of Melbourne's Der Raum and the Experimental Cocktail Club in London and New York) are behind the project. For the past year, while the bar and factory took shape, the duo has been supplying their all-natural PS sodas to restaurants such as Bennelong and Firedoor, and bar and distillery Archie Rose. "So far we've just been distributing the syrups and the venues carbonate them," says Chiem. "At PS40 we'll be able to commercially batch our sodas and tonics in-house. It's going to step it up in a big way."
The site, next door to café favourite Skittle Lane, will house a 500-litre stainless-steel tank to chill and carbonate the sodas, and a bottling machine that's been custom-built for PS40 by Portland brewing experts Meheen. "You'd think we were making beer with all this equipment," says Chiem.
The menu will include the full range of PS drinks with suggested servings for each to boot: the PS wattleseed cola, for instance, is recommended in a Batanga, along with a large measure of tequila, lime juice, green coffee beans and smoked salt.
There'll be 10 other cocktails without a soda focus, too ("Just things we're excited about," says Chiem). The techniques used in one cocktail - fermentation, for example, put to use in a pineapple-sambal cocktail - will not be repeated in the other nine on the list. Bergquist has also come up with a highly sessionable clarified milk punch made using leftover citrus and spices such as fennel seed and cassia bark, teamed with pandan, coconut and rum.
This considered approach will follow through to the beer and wine: local brewers such as Wayward Brewing Co will be on tap, as well as beers from Danish brewery Mikkeller. Wines will skew natural and organic (Domaine Alice Beaufort, Gut Oggau to name a couple) and on the snacks side there'll be charcuterie, terrines and a banh mi with shredded pork skin, pickled daikon and chicken liver pȃté.
The spacious watering hole - mostly black and white with pops of colour - was designed by Livia Lima, a former art director at Spring Studios in London and New York, and seats 50 comfortably, though it can take up to 60 people. "We could have done this in a factory but, being the cocktail bartenders that we are, we chose this site," says Chiem. "We want people to come back after all."
PS40, shop 2, 40 King St, Sydney, NSW, ps-soda.com; open this month, Mon-Sat 4pm-midnight