Papa Gede’s, Sydney

Wander down a dark, candle-lit cobblestone laneway and you’ll find a shimmer of light at the end. Here lives Papa Gede’s, a new small Sydney bar where you can get your voodoo on.

Papa Gede's, Sydney
Barbados Slim with Furio
Papa Gede's, Sydney
L-R: Aged Martinez, Blood and Sand
Papa Gede's, Sydney
Papa Gede's, Sydney
Papa Gede's, Sydney
Joshua Ng with Absinthe Foutain
Papa Gede's, Sydney
Papa Gede's, Sydney
Papa Gede's, Sydney
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Photography © Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

Once a garage space off Kent Street, the dimly-lit 60 person capacity bar is a celebration of New Orleans and Caribbean influences. Papa Gede is the first man who ever died, or so the story goes, and his spirit lives on as a “psychopump” to bring lust, laughter and good times to all.

The bar could be right at home in a scene from the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. Voodoo memorabilia lies in various corners and nooks with top hats, tarot cards, colourful beads and little statues. The fit out is mainly the work of owners Lara Dignam (ex Toko, Red Lantern), Joshua Ng (The Wild Rover) and Michael Dhinse (Grandma’s & Grasshopper) who used recycled materials such as old church pews and benchtops from Sydney University’s Fisher Library.

The cocktails menu makes it fun to choose from a 20 strong list which includes classics along with modern interpretations. Order the Barbados Slim ($16) and you will meet Furio, one of the colourful and unique tiki mugs that live on the back bar. He comes with a delicious potion of Rye Whiskey, Benedictine, rum, falernum, grapefruit, pineapple and the signature house-made voodoo bitters that lift the drink and balance the fruitiness with a hint of spice and lingering cereal flavours.

If you study the back bar long enough, you’ll spot two bottles of aged cocktail. The Aged Martinez ($17) has been aged for three weeks in ex Jack Daniel’s barrels and offers a great balance of spice and oak. Or if you’d like something off the menu, Blood and Sand ($16) with Ballantine, sweet vermouth and cherry liqueur hits the right boozy spot.

Cast your eyes around and you’ll see absinthe fountains and glassware and a growing collection of the green fairy spirit. French, Swiss and American absinthe feature on the list such as Pernod Absinthe, Vieux Pontarlier and Absinthe Pacifique that are worth the experience on subsequent visits. A succinct selection of wine and beer also features on the menu. Bar snacks will soon include charcuterie platters.

Papa Gede’s is the kind of place you stumble into the first time with a sense of curiosity. You take a seat at the bar, order a drink and immediately feel like a regular. The neighbourhood style vibe offers a world away from the bustle of the city. And when it’s time to leave, if you are asked to leave your mark on the wall, you’ll know that you have embraced the psychopomp spirit of Papa Gede.

Papa Gedes
Laneway, 346 Kent Street, Sydney 2000
Monday- Saturday: 5pm-12am (soon to be 2 am)


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.