Hemingway’s Manly: Cocktails in the Afternoon and Bearded Men

The first thing you notice about Hemingway’s Manly is the stencil of the bearded writer above the entrance with bi-fold windows. Step through the glass doors past the writing on the wall and your eyes hone in on the action behind the bar.

Bearded men are attending to patrons placing their order of food and drink.

Hemingway's Manly
Hemingway’s Manly

Hemingway’s Manly occupies a prime spot facing the beach where The Barking Frog used to be. The restaurant and bar serving American-style bar food has owners, George McLean, Paul Fraser and Ben Pichon reeling in the crowd this Sunday afternoon.

The décor is chunky and masculine, and has an air of nostalgia that one often associates with literary cafés and bars in Paris. You’ll find books arranged haphazardly in solid dark brown bookcases against a feature wall and an old Singer sewing machine table with cutlery.

Hemingway's Manly

Hemingway's Manly
Writing on the wall

Hemingway's Manly

It is that civilised time in the afternoon where a cocktail beckons after The Taste of Manly festival. The menu with typewriter-like font is presented on individual sheets stapled inside books, much like Pane e Acqua do in Milan, though I find reading a cocktail menu inside a Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat a little quaint.

Hemingway's Manly
Cocktail menu

The liquor menu has a range of beers that include Little Creatures, Peroni and suggested mixers such as Aperol and Fanta, but the house cocktails offer a more interesting choice.

I order what is arguably the lady’s drink. Dubbed as “all things nice”, the Hemingway’s Cup is made with Hendrick’s gin, rose and apple tea, a lightly spiced syrup, and served with sliced cucumber and a tight rose bud in a Hendricks tea cup.

Hemingway's Manly
George McLean mixing Hemingway’s Cup

This is a light and summery cocktail, very apt for an afternoon, with a delicate blend of flavours ending with a gentle kick of gin . The fragrant rose bud adds another feminine touch.

Hemingway's Manly
Iced Coffee (L) and Hemingway’s Cup (R)

Mr G’s Iced Coffee cocktail looks the least bit menacing yet it hides a good measure of Patron XO Café, Vodka and a powerful espresso with a few coffee beans thrown in.

Hemingway's Manly
Feature wall bookcase

Upstairs, the vibe is a little more subdued. You can lounge on brown leather sofas with an old world feel or sit along banquettes with tables covered in black cloth. Black and white portraits of Hemingway are hung on the walls, including a photograph with Fidel Castro and one of the writer sitting in a relaxed pose wearing shorts.

Hemingway's Manly

Hemingway's Manly
Upstairs lounge and table seating

Hemingways Manly
Hemingway with Fidel Castro (R) and lounging in shorts (R)

Hemingway's Manly
Upstairs mirror and mural

The food menu brings popular American snack items such as pluto pups, nacho dogs, ribs, 2 minute noodles and a hot fudge sundae for dessert with a promise of ‘naughty stuff’.

The amenities provide the best solution for those who can’t read toilet signage after imbibing a few drinks. The ladies room with its bright pink walls and Singer sewing machine panders to my fixation of photographing restaurant toilets while the bold blue walls of the men’s scream of manliness with Keep Calm And Have A Beer.

Hemingway's Manly
Ladies’ room in bright pink

Hemingway's Manly
Sign in Men’s Toilet

Hemingway's Manly
Beneath the bar

Hemingway’s Manly lives up to its masculinity with a décor that’s a little rough around the edges and pays homage to the author who was known to enjoy his tipples. The ambience is buzzy and casual, the service is welcoming and friendly, even when it’s packing a full house and you like chatting to the bartender as he mixes your drinks.

In the age of manzilians and manscaping, bearded men certainly have appeal at Hemingway’s Manly.

Hemingway’s Manly
48 North Steyne
Sydney Australia


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Hemingway’s Manly: Cocktails in the Afternoon and Bearded Men was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.


  1. Cool place for a drink! I’d be happy lounging upstairs with cocktails watching the sun set.

    Not so sure about men with bushy beards…

    • It’s great that it has that view from upstairs. It’s very hip and happening now, let alone when summer comes around!

      I’m with you on bushy beards, but they don’t look out of place here, and I like that kind of subtle attention to detail. I prefer a well maintained stubble beard… :)

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  4. Looks like a new Manly hotspot; although I’m hardly ever over there… :S Great review!

    • It’s a little out of the way for us as well but worth going there when on the other side of the bridge. Glad you liked the review :)

  5. I must go there!!! Nice post, G! “@Gourmantic: Did we really mention manzilians, manscaping and bearded men? bit.ly/ktVGBV #manly”

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter.

  6. Maybe they should change it to ‘Keep calm and have a beard’, that’s my motto anyway. I like the fact that Hemingway’s place is in ‘Manly’ too.

    • Me thinks this article spoke to you, Mr Stone. I think you’d fit right in :) And yes, ‘Manly’ fits the theme very well. It’s a popular beachside suburb north of Sydney’s CBD, in case you were wondering.

  7. This place looks really fun – love the idea of the menus stapled into books, will have to find that place in Milan as well, great concept! Cocktails, books, AND men in beards…definitely my kinda place :)

    • It’s an interesting concept to have a menu inside books, and it works very well here. Order a drink, have a read, and check out the beards :)

  8. Did intrepid traveller Ernest Hemingway spend time in Manly or has someone just decided to theme their bar on him? Whichever, it looks like a pretty cool place to enjoy a few drinks.

  9. Looks like a pretty good place to chill out if there are water views too! The Hemingway’s cup is interesting but the guy may shy away from it.

  10. Looks like a very fun, inventive place! I love the cocktail in a teacup. It’s great to see that it’s packed. :)

  11. Hemingway’s Manly: Cocktails in the Afternoon and Bearded Men – http://t.co/B39R2e5 – cool bar review by @gourmantic

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter.

  12. How wonderfully eclectic and charming! It’s been a while since I’ve been to Manly.. maybe it’s time for another trip on the ferry :)

  13. I give this place a solid 2 out of 10…went for lunch with a few friends. Ordered some sandwiches, chips and some beers…was less than impressed with the chips seemed like the were heated up in a microwave! Sandwhiches served with smiths patato chips WTF!! On the plus side service was decent…would not go back. save your money and go to maccas instead you will have a better dining experience!

    • It doesn’t sound good at all from what you describe! I haven’t eaten there, (we only had cocktails) but looking at what others were having on the day, they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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