I was off to a concert in the city tonight with my boyfriend, but we decided to stop off first at a bar for some pre-concert drinks. Now, I love trying out new bars (and restaurants for that matter) and Sydney is a fantastic place to live as it is full to the brim of bustling pubs, classy cocktail bars, hidden bars, rooftop bars, small bars, laneway bars and everything in-between – absolutely spoiling me for choice!
This time though, we decided we had a craving for a rum bar and according to good old Google, The Lobo Plantation was the place to go if you love rum and cocktails and was on the way to The City Recital Hall – even better!
Located at 209 Clarence Street, this bar is downstairs in the basement and to get there you first have to go down a winding staircase. As soon as I stepped into the bar, I immediately fell in love with this place. Although dark, The Lobo Plantation is lit up with lamps and light shades throughout the venue and has a very Cuban and Caribbean colonial period feel to it.
There are comfy couches just waiting to be slouched in and inviting booths perfect for large groups and parties, whilst the bar has a number of bar stools which you can perch at as you sift through the drinks menu deciding what rum cocktail to go for.
As we were perched on our stools, the friendly bartender poured us some refreshing tap water and also brought out some banana chips to nibble on which I have to say were extremely moreish and totally addictive. They should really have a warning sign on the bowl saying ‘’highly addictive – eat with caution”, as during our time at the bar we must have devoured at least two bowls worth of banana chips. I hope I don’t turn into a banana chip!
Reasonably priced, rum cocktails in The Lobo Plantation range upwards from $17, whilst if cocktails aren’t your thing then there are also a variety of wines, beers and ciders to explore. However, you really come to The Lobo Plantation for rum, and you will be pleased to know that this bar does over 250 different types of rum, both locally and internationally sourced.
To explore these 250 rums, you will need to ask for The Rum Journal which lists all these rums with tasting notes and is ordered by country so you really need to know what you are looking for, or you can always take a wild guess!
To start with though, we both ordered a cocktail and I started the night off with a Rum Cannonball, containing Havana Club 3 year old rum, vanilla infused rosso vermouth, lime, falernum, fresh orange juice and nutmeg. This cocktail was not overly strong and beautifully refreshing. We thanked the barman, and as it was fairly quiet we managed to take a seat on some of the comfy seats in the table service area.
This was great as we were given more of those highly addictive banana chips, and our waitress helped us order our next drinks and she had a very detailed and in-depth knowledge of the cocktails and rums we should try.
My boyfriend ended up ordering a rum from the Rum Journal which had scored a very impressive 98 out of 100 from the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago and was called El Dorado 21. This was a very nice and smooth rum, although too strong for my liking!
In the end I went for another cocktail and had a Shipwreck cocktail which was topped with a rum float. This again was a long cocktail and easy to drink and not too potent, although I would have liked it a bit stronger.
The toilets are well kept and easy to find and this colonial Cuban/ Caribbean vibe can be felt throughout the whole bar whilst they have brilliant music playing to reflect this period and bob along to.
We shortly left after these drinks, as we had a concert to get to, but later returned with friends after our concert to show them The Lobo Plantation as they had not visited this bar yet. As it was after 10pm, this bar was a lot busier than during our earlier visit which meant we had to queue outside; however this was fine as we were undercover and had a good chin wag with the door man who let us through within 5 minutes once other patrons had left.
We ordered more cocktails at the bar, which on this occasion took longer to come, but there were plenty of bartenders so it was relatively easy to order. We also managed to grab a seat at a table close to the bar and ordered some of the Empanadas which have three pieces per serve. If you did want to secure a seat then I would definitely recommend getting here earlier as it does fill up fast.
The Empanadas didn’t take too long to come out and were very hot so we had to wait until they cooled down to avoid burnt fingers. We ordered three types: the chicken, beef and vegetarian options and they were all pretty tasty, although a little doughy in texture. The Lobo Plantation also does other bar snacks and food including polenta bites, fritters, croquettes, crispy rice balls and Mama’s Meatballs if you do get hungry during the night; however you can always count on those tasty banana chips which we ended up munching on again (that “highly addictive – eat with caution” sign is definitely needed!).
All in all, The Lobo Plantation is a new favourite bar of mine and is worth venturing down to if you are in search of something a little different and you are looking for rum. It is easy to find and centrally located close to other city bars including The Baxter Inn allowing you to take in a few different bars without having to walk too far.