The List: Employees Only Sydney combines an international list with local drinks

Chris Garner at Employees Only Sydney. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Employees Only Sydney has quickly established itself as the go-to destination for the city’s hospitality tribes post-midnight (that 3am licence and no applicable lockout law certainly helps). But the bar is not just for hospo types, as bar manager Chris Garner explains, but for a range of people from open to close.

The list at Employees Only has a little of something for everyone, from big, New York-style booze-forward drinks, to lighter, more refreshing sippers (like the Bella Grazia we have featured here).

“There’s definitely a lot of hospo after midnight, but we try to capitalise on every crowd that we can. We try to be the place you can go at any time, for whatever reason,” says Garner.

“I think when you do an open to close shift, the fun bit is watching the drink orders change, from the 5pm beers and proseccos, and then you get the dinner crowd who are ordering wines and cocktails, and then you get the after dinner crowd, for who it’s just cocktails, and then at midnight it’s Gin & Tonics, Vodka Lime & Sodas, and shots and beers.”

And as you’d expect from a bar that’s trading everyday of the week until the wee hours, prepping for the list is crucial.


“We’ve got a lot of syrups and a lot of purees, so everything is done beforehand because we don’t want to ever stop making drinks,” says Garner. “We want to get you out a cocktail in two minutes time and have as good a cocktail as anywhere else faster and better.”

The Employees Only Sydney menu. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Given that there are a number of Employees Only bars around the world — there is the New York original, Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Sydney — there are a few drinks on the list you’ll find no matter which city you’re in — the Common Sense and the Ginger Smash are two that we have featured here.

But other than that, the local bartenders are given free reign to get creative.

Take a look at three recipes below.

Bella Grazia
Print Recipe

Bella Grazia

  1. Shaken with ice and served tall, garnished with a watermelon slice.

“This our ode to Grazia Di Franco," says Employees Only Sydney bar manager Chris Garner, "it’s just a light, summery, fun and fresh drink. A great way to start the night,” says Garner.


Common Sense
Print Recipe

Common Sense

  1. Stir down all ingredients over ice.
  2. Strain over block ice in a rocks glass.
  3. Garnish with a twist.

“This is one of Steve Schneider’s drinks from way back,” says Garner. “The idea was that, the drink just made sense. You’ve got whiskey with these chocolatey, really delicious flavours, but it’s still easy to drink; it’s a real digestif drink.”


Ginger Smash
Print Recipe

Ginger Smash

  1. Muddle the ginger with the sugar cube, add all ingredients and shake with ice.
  2. Strain and serve over ice.

“The Ginger Smash is done all around the world,” says Employees Only Sydney bar manager Chris Garner, the only change being the change in seasonal fruits used.

“Mangoes just made sense here.”


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