Bars and Nightclubs
Inner West, Sydney

Different Drummer

185 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, NSW
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The Different Drummer is a cocktail and tapas bar located in the heart of Glebe’s busy restaurant district. Located on Glebe Point Road, it is a great venue for after-work drinks, dinner, cocktail parties and functions. There is a daily cocktail happy ‘hour and a half’ from 6pm till 7.30pm, which makes for a great pre-dinner drink or after-work drinks. The bar is licensed till 2am.

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Different Drummer Review

Review by Emily Shipp

If the Different Drummer is good for one thing (it’s not – it’s good for many things) it is good for first dates. It is great for first dates.

Whether it is the soft red lighting, the gigantic peacock tail mounted on the wall, the hour and a half happy hour, the silky smooth sangria or the chilled soul music in the background, something about Different Drummer just makes everything and everyone seem irresistible.

From 6-7:30pm Different Drummer hosts happy hour with half price cocktails ranging from $7 to $9. Having tried many on the list I can affirm that they are uniformly tasty with a special mentions given to the thick, creamy yet tangy Amoretto Sour and the bright and fresh Frapple.

As the student budget panic hits at 7:30 and the cocktails return to their original price, similarly budgeted friends and I have been known to foolishly leave Different Drummer in search of cheaper pastures. All is not lost after 7:30 however, the time has simply come to turn to Different Drummer’s sangria.

Their sangria has to be some of the best in the area, tasting as it does of wine rather than of cordial. Sweet relief! Best of all at less than $30 a jug, the price is very reasonable when divided between friends, working out at around $5 a glass. The difficulty lies in choosing between the red wine sangria and the white wine sangria with its lychees, mint and rum. Wow.

The crowd is firmly non-pretentious with everyone from raucous groups of friends to quiet dates, suits to sandals. Groups intermingle with each other, new friends are made. It is that kind of place.

Food is available in the form of ever-popular tapas and like most tapas in Sydney it is overpriced and undersized – $11 for very small servings. If food is your game you’re probably better off elsewhere.

A word of warning, this place is cosy and continually growing in popularity so if you have a big group book in advance otherwise you’re likely to be turned away.

One more thing. Bring back the ping pong table! I don’t know whether it’s just me but there is nothing better to seal the deal on a first date than smashing your partner in ping pong.

With the music and the open-roof on weekends there is everything to drag you back time and again with the quiet hope that none of your previous first dates catch you out and expose your hopelessly formulaic nature.

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A Second Review of Different Drummer

Review by Nastasia Campanella

For as long as I can remember, Sydney’s bar seen has been split into nightclubs, bars and restaurants. One of Glebe’s, finest drinking spots is a beautiful mix of them all. Different Drummer is a Spanish tapas / cocktail bar which has given us fabulous drinks and a great party atmosphere. It’s responsible for bringing Spain to Sydney’s Inner West.

I’ve always been a huge fan of all things Spanish… paella, salsa and wine. My friend and I were very keen to celebrate the start of a long weekend with a few cocktails. We’d attempted to hit the Different Drummer the week before, but after taking one look at the huge crowd spilling on to the footpath, we decided we’d go another time. We made a booking right away and got totally dolled up for our girly night out on the town.

Different Drummer was first opened up in Sydney’s Darlinghurst by David and Dominique Edmonson in 1971. When that shut down, the new bar was launched up the boutique end of Glebe Point Road which is a fitting haunt for this small, but very well equipped space. Getting into the door was a bit of a task – we needed to squeeze through at least 30 people holding champagne glasses. I remember thinking; “crap there is going to be some serious spillage here!” Everyone seemed quite polite and there was no pushing and shoving. My friend and I were very disappointed in how long it took us to find a staff member to ask where our booked table was, but we found someone in the end. We were thankful to be walking out of the crowded foyer, but thankfulness turned into shock when we were led up the steep, narrow, timber staircase which had a very wonky handrail. How on earth those got through occupational health and safety regulations, I’ll never know!

Once we were seated though, we were very impressed. This venue [we assumed], must have once been an old shabby looking terrace. The open plan kitchen was set right in front of the small dining area which gave a very homey feeling. The wooden floorboards, red soft lighting and brick walls were cool and contemporary without too much authenticity having been taken away. From where we sat, we could hear chips sizzling away and the scent of meat being barbecued was amazing! At $11 a platter, we opted for the traditional Spanish meatballs, marinated chicken skewers with satay sauce, chips dipped in garlic mayonnaise and vegetarian risotto balls. We’ll definitely be back for the crumbed camembert and the Spanish import combo, with jamon serrano, manchego, sardines and olives.

While the food was quite nice, I found it very annoying that we were seated on the second floor and we still had to head back down to order food and drinks. Good thing we had our food brought to us quickly. Good thing also, that we decided to have our drinks down stairs on the way out because there was no way I would have been able to climb down the nightmare of a staircase without doing the splits.

Speaking of the drinks… they are this bars most impressive draw card. Staff are very generous with their nips. Give the Helsinki Pear a go. It’s caramelized pear with Woodford reserve, Poor William Liquer, and lime and spice syrup shaken together. My friend loved the sweet freshness of the Brazilian Peach – Hoo-ha – Smashed peach, lemon and mint with Cachaca, lemoncello and peach. My favourite was the Fig Muster. A cocktail which took me back to an imaginary world of rollercoaster’s and sugary delights – where fun, excitement and laughter were mandatory. Served tall, Figs are muddled and shaken with pisco, lavender and lemon, topped with sparkling wine and pistachio fairy floss. So cute!

Different Drummer has been educating Sydneysiders about Spanish cuisine. Tapas means to cover and during the 10th century the Spanish would use pieces of bread or ham to cover the tops of their glasses to prevent flies from getting into their drinks. barowners believed these salty morsels also promoted thirst and therefore sales. Tapas became more famous within the tenth century when Spanish King Alfonso was ill. His doctor told him to eat small bits of food with small sips of wine between meals. Once he’d recovered, he declared that wine was not to ever be served without food in the area of Castile. Those who were socioeconomically disadvantaged couldn’t afford proper meals to have with their wine and consequently, got drunk all the time. However, the introduction of tapas as a tradition to be had with alcohol meant that it was a positive for the poor.

Here we are now though, in the 21st century, in a time where people are prepared to pay top dollar for tapas and great cocktails. Different Drummer has been one of the trend setters in this culinary experience and it seems the popularity of the place has only gotten stronger. What was once Glebe’s best kept secret has now become a regular for locals with a nightly 90 minute happy hour. The DJ spins euro house and mish mashed 80’s pop until two am – giving the bar it’s party atmosphere.

I feel this spot is great for after work drinks. If you are going with just a couple of friends don’t fret. The place is small so sharing tables and bumping into strangers is common and probably not a bad thing if you’re on the look out for new mates. Prices are very reasonable, with drinks ranging from $10 to $20 and the doormen aren’t fussy with what you wear. Sounds like your thing? Then I suggest you grab your amigos and get excited for Sangria and chorizos. Ariba!!

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