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“Behind the door down that dark back alley..”
Review of The Baxter Inn

The Baxter Inn
Ranked #2 of 5,843 Restaurants in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Drinks, Late Night, Full Bar, Seating, Serves Alcohol
Neighborhood: Central Business District
Gladesville, Australia
Level Contributor
465 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1,786 helpful votes
“Behind the door down that dark back alley..”
Reviewed May 14, 2014

If you were told to meet up with someone & the entrance happened to be in a dark back alley with no lights no signs, leading down into a basement via a fire stairwell, most normal people would probably think you were a rapist.

A themed bar with a secret entrance without any signs gives this hidden establishment a special charm once you realise its not a swingers club. A long bar manned by staff with bow ties guarding a wall filled with so much whiskey that requires a ladder to reach with Jazz music in the background, soft lighting & wooden panels give this bar an aged look making it is easy to forget that it is all made-up. It has those idiosyncrasies that city hipsters love like its relative secret location, underground vibe, intimate floor space & its soft light candle-lit ambience is something different. Single malt liquor & old American boxing pictures aren’t topic’s many people could discuss in detail but the atmosphere here is always vibrant & its 1930’s theme is part of the charm which makes it worth waiting up to 30mins outside a back alley for.

With over 350 whiskey’s on offer not including tap beer, wines & ports they try to please everybody but if your into the rice wine peasant farmers enjoy after a gruelling harvest or south Pacific kava on a humid summer night you will be disappointed, maybe you can reminisce about your worldly travels over a whiskey on the rocks. Strictly no food is served here making this a pure drinking establishment, pretzels on request. Having so many obscure whiskey brands not found at your Woolies supermarket I would think many of the people who pretend to like the unpronounceable single-malts from Iceland or back streets of Belfast as fools shoring up their street cred. It’s a good place to try something new & to enjoy the company of friends, don’t get caught up in the whole fake cool hipster thing its superficial. Whether standing around the wall benches, watching the action at the bar or lucky enough to score a table it’s a pretty good place if you can get in.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank The_Pale_Ridah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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642 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
208 reviews
115 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 295 helpful votes
“Super Cool in CBD”
Reviewed May 14, 2014

The Baxter Inn is one of the coolest bars ever! It's down an alley and you'd never find it if you weren't looking, but it's so brilliant, it's well worth discovering!
We only went in for cocktails and as most of their drinks are whisky based, I didn't think I'd like much, but they had a great apple one I enjoyed. As you enter via a staircase to the basement (not glam, I wasn't hoping for much!) you feel like you're stepping back in time to the jazz era. It's incredible - an amazing array of drinks, a cool old world atmosphere and jazz playing constantly. You would never think you're in the heart of Sydney's CBD. Even on a Tuesday night, the place was packed - a great place to meet friends. We absolutely loved it and a quick drink turned into a very late night!

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Temer2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“what a back bar”
Reviewed May 13, 2014

this place plain an simple rocks..... not much more to say but amazing back bar, amazing staff, great vibe and great decor. been here a lot and never been disappointed.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MissyMarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Cool venue ruined by arrogant and rude waitstaff who seemed drunk”
Reviewed May 12, 2014

Agree with the previous review regarding the awful attitude of the staff. We visited with friends last Friday 9th May. We queued to enter and then had to wait a while for a table, but originating from London this was normal for us. The drinks were lovely and the venue cool, but the experience was completely ruined by the appalling attitude of a couple of the waitstaff. In the end, we felt obliged to find the manager on duty to complain. He assured us he would have a word with the waiter, but who knows if anything came of it!

One particular member of staff (with black hair in a ponytail) spilled wine all over my phone when he miscalculated the position of the glass. Unexpected and annoying, but not a huge deal - he gave us a couple of free whiskey shots to apologise. However, he then later proceeded to spill wine again, all over one of our group, and then finally he tipped another bottle of wine all over the table when going to turn it upside down in the ice bucket believing it to be finished (without checking - there was a lot left). All of us felt he appeared drunk - he was smirking, sarcastic in his apologies, and completely un-bothered by the negative effect his attitude was having on our night. I don't know how any sober waiter could spill drinks in such a ridiculous way three times!)

Another member of staff giving out bowls of pretzels was walking around throwing the bowls down on the table, spilling them everywhere - again, he appeared drunk.

This is not a cheap place to drink, but the attitude held by members of staff is. If I am going to a nice bar for nice drinks I do not expect to have multiple drinks spilled all over me and pretzels thrown at me. I would suggest new bar staff with a mature attitude who treat their customers with the respect they deserve! I would like to go back, and to recommend this place to others, but I would hesitate to do so until the place treats their customers better.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank TCharlotte_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“One of the best bars in Sydney”
Reviewed May 7, 2014

It's tough to find a proper whiskey bar in Sydney that has a wide variety, that special kind of class and an atmosphere that whittles away the hours with the smooth tones of jazz and the light beat of soft rock classics. Actually when you try to find even one of these, you're hard pressed. When you find Baxters, your search is over.

A note right from the start; this place is really popular and not very big. You will almost invariably be waiting in line if it's not a long weekend or any other of the various reasons the CBD workers have an early mark. There's no reservations available (according to their website) and the rule of tables and booths is "the quick and the dead".

If you brave the line (it's not so bad), one of the best experiences of the place, believe it or not, is walking in. You are walking into what can only be described as a utility access stairwell. There was even a handyman working on something to add to the nature and I guarantee you will wonder if you've got the right place. The second you cross the threshold from the entry to the bar, you will know first impressions can be more than a little misleading.
If there was ever a bar that instantly demands that you order a smooth, single malt on the rocks, this is it. It can be a little noisy at first but the atmosphere created is intoxicating and you'll soon find yourself relaxed and not planning on leaving anytime soon.

The bar itself has a whiskey range so impressive it's difficult to capture the entire board in one photo. Don't worry though, if you don't know quite what you want or are feeling adventurous, just ask one of the barkeeps. They'll be happy to help and explain the differences. Not into whiskey? Trust me, you will find something on that menu, but let's say you don't; never fear, they have a good range of lagers, beers and ales to suit. Still not your thing? How about an old-fashioned cocktail? Yep, they do those too. They had a Japanese Pear with freshly juiced apple (literally, the juicer is right there on the bar) which was divine and definitely dangerous.

Go with a group of friends or night out with someone special, you won't be disappointed but bring your wallet. Like all good things, this hits the back pocket like no ones business. Totally worth it though.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank User12304
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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