Few people are unaware that across the road from Ivy on busy George street lies a totally different drinking experience to the mega complex that dominates this part of Sydney. Grasshopper is tucked up a quiet lane and when taking someone there for the first time, they may feel that you leading them to a mugging rather than one of Sydney's best laneway bars. On a busy night, Grasshopper sprawls out into the laneway with a kind of urban layout - crates for seats, old lids for ash trays and cocktails in an assortment of jars. Inside is a softly lit bar downstairs, and separate restaurant area upstairs. The bar is intimate but surprisingly noisy even when nowhere near capacity.
Grasshopper tries to find the balance between urban/edgy and up-market. Generally, it manages to mix the themes with success from the décor to the glassware (old jars and beakers), but it does go a little too abstract at times. Some interesting concoctions on the cocktail menu start at $15, while those with a bit stronger will cost closer to $20. Don't drink too many as you may have difficultly remembering what you've had: the cocktails are numbered but not named. Also, if you're watching your drinks, the measurements used may provide another a test: a jigger is 1.5 standard shots (45ml), a pony is 30ml and a tablespoon is half that (15-20ml). So you'll be confronted with a menu that will list, for example, '#65'. Its ingredients are: '6 leaves of Mint, 1 jigger of Cachaca, 1 tablespoon of Ginger Cordial, 1 pony of fresh White Grapefruit and 2 jiggers of Tonic'. Doing the maths, plus knowing that Cachaca is the Brazilian equivalent of white rum and you'll end up with a take on the classic Caipirinha which is more bitter than sour. In the end, this kind of menu presentation seems a bit too indulgent and convoluted: drink selection should be clear and create a level of anticipation, not leave you confused or using your smartphone to understand what you are chosing between.
In brief: GrasshopperBest things: Sitting in the laneway on busy nights Don't miss: Unique glassware for cocktails Ideal for: Small groups, catch-ups with friends, dates Date tip: Laneway, when it's open or the right hand side of the bar and tables at back left. Gripe: Cocktail menu seems intentionally difficult to understand. Opening of laneway area is sporadic and the outdoor seating (ie crates) is uncomfortable after a few minutes. Rating: 6/10
Last updated: November 2015
You are here: The Grasshopper, Sydney CBD review and address. his laneway bar tries to balance urban/edgy and up-market. Generally, it manages to mix the themes with success, but not without a few issues.