Maybe Sammy, the new cocktail bar from the owners of Maybe Frank brings elegance, glamour and classic service to Sydney.
Dubbed as a classic “hotel bar without a hotel”, Maybe Sammy is located in The Rocks part of Sydney and gives more than a nod to the heydays of the Rat Pack. Step inside and you’ll be transported back in time to a space that Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin could call home.
Classic elegance and extravagance define the interior of the 70 pax cocktail lounge inspired by 1950s Hollywood and Vegas glamour. The smart surrounds combine pink tropical wallpaper with brass fittings, marble tiles, pink velvet banquettes, leather seats, high stools, gold trimmed marble tables and an impressive marble top bar with deep green cladding running the length of the venue.
The Bar Team
Aesthetics aside, it is the talent behind the bar dressed in smart pale pink jackets, white shirts and a red boutonnière that captures attention.
Andrea Gualdi, Maybe Frank’s Creative Director (and co-owner with Stefano Catino and Vince Lombardo) has worked at Artesian at The Langham in London, a hotel bar that has won World’s Best Bar four years consecutively along with several coveted accolades. Balazs Molnar, also ex Artesian and a colleague of Gualdi at the time, joined the Maybe Frank team in 2018. Martin Hudák, 2017 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion hails from another iconic institution, the American Bar at The Savoy in London.
How it all began is a story Stefano Catino related to us exclusively. Lost in central London, Andrea and Stefano stumbled upon the Savoy and being bartenders, they went to the American Bar. Dressed like backpackers with Maybe Frank caps, a bartender at the end of the bar waved to them. He said, “You guys are famous”. It was Martin. They sat at the bar and noticed he used similar ingredients in cocktails to Andrea. He then told them he was coming to Australia for Mr Black.
In Sydney, he went to Maybe Frank and they told him they were opening a new bar with Andrea and Balazs. Martin had the idea to open a cocktail bar with coffee cocktails. He said, “I am coming to work with you guys if you put me in charge of the coffee program. I want the team to be the best in the world and I want the coffee program to be the best as there’s not enough good coffee in cocktails.” They told him, “You’re on board”. And Maybe Sammy was born.
The Cocktail List
Maybe Sammy’s cocktail list was devised by Andrea Gualdi and the team where every drink has a connection with their collective backgrounds.
The ‘Minis’ are miniature versions of classic cocktails, an emerging trend we penned last year and hope would become more prominent. The Minis re pre-batched and presented in elegant mini coupettes that seem to capture the light delightfully.
“They’re designed to make classic drinks fashionable again,” says Martin Hudak.
Each drink is a take on a classic and named after the Rat Pack. The Sammy is based on the Roulette cocktail with gin, mint, sweet and dry vermouth. The Frank is a riff on the Old Pal with rye whiskey, dry vermouth and bitter Campari. The Dean combines 5yo rum with Calvados and Swedish punch in a version of the Pall Mall, and there’s The Mini Martini with vodka or gin, olive or citrus.
The Signature Cocktails are named after the Rat Pack’s favourite casinos and haunts in Vegas. Based on classics, the smart cocktail list engages many senses and comes with a theatrical delivery that stays with you until the next visit.
The easy-drinking Lady Luck combines vodka with mango, passionfruit and lemon shaken with a meringue to deliver a creamy texture. The drink is presented with an aromatic mango hand cream. Rub it on the hand with which you sip the cocktail for a sensory experience to carry out of the bar.
The New Frontier cocktail is based on a cocktail made at Artesian London when Gualdi first joined the bar. A large inflated balloon is pierced over a clear drink releasing a heady coffee aroma. Inside the balloon is a scratch card where the guest can win anything from a free coffee to an elaborate dinner. The marriage of blanco tequila, Derrumbes mezcal, Fino Sherry and apple is a combination that seduces the palate while the eye feasts on the crystal clear ice by Bare Bones Ice Company.
Some cocktails like the Circus Circus introduce a little magic designed to evoke childhood memories and for that reason, it is best not to reveal it here.
For the big players seeking a luxury experience, the High Rollers list fits the bill whether it’s a Daiquiri made with Bacardi Riserva Facundo Rum, Dean Martin’s signature cocktail, The Flame of Love Martini with Grey Goose VX vodka or The Old Fashioned with Old Rip Van Winkle 12 yo Special Reserve.
There’s no denying Martin Hudák’s expertise and influence on the Coffee Cocktails at Maybe Sammy.
“Sydney is a coffee city and this is a chance to bring something new,” he says. “My idea is to change flavour depending on how we roast the coffee, make it with uncommon flavours and bring a lighter tropical version to the drink”.
The Espresso Martiki is such a fine example with nitro espresso, pineapple rum, Mr Black, mango and banana while the cold Irish Coffee with Redbreast 12yo Irish whiskey, Costa Rica Azul Natural, dark honey, sugar and cream delights the senses with its silky texture and rich flavour.
The “Hotel Bar Without a Hotel”
“Maybe Sammy is a modern classic cocktail bar, what a European hotel bar would be like if it was born today,” says Gualdi. “What’s missing in hotel bars is the freedom and personality to do what you want. We’re modernising the experience from our hotel bar backgrounds into a more casual and approachable way and bringing the good parts to Sydney.”
And Maybe Sammy delivers. This “hotel bar without the hotel” is nothing but the real deal.
Click through the following pages to view a selection of Maybe Sammy cocktails including a video of Martin Hudák’s Espresso Martiki.