Some things just go together naturally. Cheese and wine. A cup and saucer. Summer and thongs. Whisky and…tailored shirts?

Ok, so maybe those two things don’t naturally go together, but that’s the concept behind Shirt Bar, a new-ish whisky bar/coffee shop/shirt shop on Sussex Lane in the Sydney CBD. Right by Balcony Bar and Small bar, it feels a lot larger than your usual Sydney small bar.

The décor is all exposed brick, concrete floors, leather, warm wood and coffee sack covered stools. The staff are smartly kitted out in – you guessed it – tailored shirts. Instead of regular bottles, they serve drinking water from crystal decanters. It was a weekday so the crowd was mostly business-types having meetings or taking a coffee break. I didn’t see anyone having a whisky break, but who knows.

Of course I’m there for coffee. Shirt Bar have their very own blend, FAT Coffee (For All Things Coffee) roasted by Shirt Bar co-owner Adam Hofbauer, who says, and I have to quote this sentence it’s just so damn quoteable, that his ‘introduction to the raunchiness of the naked porta filter’ cemented his obsession with coffee.

My macch was good, well balanced, but unfortunately forgotten until my friend and I did some eyeballing and they realised we were still waiting. Nothing was said, they brought us our coffees and they were good so all was forgiven. And they came with a tiny cookie each, which I appreciated ‘cause I got to eat both.

I don’t know what percentage of Shirt Bar’s business is made up of selling shirts, perhaps their purely decorative, maybe it’s a novelty thing, but if café/bookstores and café/bike stores are all the rage, why not a shirts/coffee/whisky combo? I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Be warned – like many a small bar there isn’t a beer tap in sight and they’ll only do certain cocktails. They do serve food but they’re not a restaurant. They are three things at once though, and they seem to do them all well. And I say that knowing nothing of either tailored shirts or whisky.


Shirt Bar
(02) 8068 8222
7 Sussex Lane (behind Erskine Street, nearest cross street is Kent)
Sydney 2000
www.shirtbar.com.au

Shirt Bar on Urbanspoon

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11 Responses to Café Review – Shirt Bar, Sydney CBD

  1. Gaby says:

    I saw this place when going for drinks with coworkers. I think some cafes/bars/restaurants are are overdoing that whole “theme” thing… I don’t really care how innovative the decor is, for me it’s all about the food and the service with a decent degree of comfort.
    Gaby recently posted…Review: Temasek

    • Lau says:

      I hear ya. The coffee was great, but the whole ‘small bar’ thing is kinda lost on me. I was so excited when the new NSW small bar laws came in but all it’s really meant is more gorgeously decorated places to sip a $12-$15 for a glass of wine…

  2. Interesting looking place there! I wonder if they do get people buying shirts there?
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted…Easy Chocolate Bark Bouquet For Father’s Day

  3. Howard says:

    I work near by and have visited a few times for after work drinks. Not too convinced by its layout and theme but they do have a good selection of whisky! Coffee wise, there are a few competitors in the area with no shortage of 5 good places within a 20 second walk, tough times!
    Howard recently posted…Restaurant Cara&Co, Westfields, Sydney CBD

  4. Manu says:

    As long as the coffee is good… it’s all ok. hehehe I don’t mind the decor (I actually think it is nice) and I guess I am used to “small” bars coming from Europe… but the t-shirt thing is a bit weird… hehehe
    Manu recently posted…Comment on TARALLI by Manu

  5. Emma says:

    Amazing coffee every single time i visit, friendly staff and great vibe. The opposite side of Shirt Bar fuels my shopping habit and I now own quite a few Louka + Sabina shirts. Gorgeous fabrics, perfect fit and I get great comments everytime I wear them!

  6. Whiskey breaks? lol – “Yep, 10am – time for my whiskey break…!”

    Dunno if it’s a theme as such, but totally agree with Emma ^^ – my Louka & Sabina shirt is the best fitting shirt in my wardrobe.
    Tina@foodboozeshoes recently posted…A race through Hunter valley – part 2

  7. [...] I’m just paying closer attention. In any case the York Street hub, with the likes of the quirky Shirt Bar and the laneway haven York Lane is a pretty awesome place to be grabbing your coffees and lunches [...]

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