The Pinnacle Guide

EL PRIMO SANCHEZ

Sydney, Australia

A colourful Mexican-inspired bar that puts an emphasis on sustainable agave products, modern agave cocktails and late night revelry.

Reservations recommended
Walk-ins welcome
Accessible venue

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

El Primo Sanchez works with suppliers who have a sustainable approach and community activations, including their preferred Mezcal brand Artesanal that supports local women in Mexico working in the agave industry, ensuring their produce passes the required regulations to be made available to sell worldwide. Outside of Mexican spirits, the bar uses locally grown ingredients sourced directly from the producers.

DETAILS OF NOTE

Guests will find El Primo Sanchez has a casual Mexican food menu that rivals its cocktail list for excellence in flavour. Wednesdays have become the new Taco Tuesdays here, with affordable and delicious street-style dishes on offer. Plus there’s a pint-sized karaoke room complete with a ‘press for tequila’ button. 

The Pinnacle Guide

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El Primo Sanchez, located in Sydney’s Paddington, is a vibrant Mexican cocktail bar that immerses guests in the colourful atmosphere of old Mexico City. Drawing inspiration from the vivid city backstreets, as well as influence from Mexican architect Luis Barragan, the bar is named for a fictional long-lost cousin with a tendency to lead his friends astray. 

The heart of El Primo Sanchez is its bar, adorned with colourful tiles, a yellow ceiling, and an illuminating box that reads “servicio.” A heady mix of bold geometric patterns, bright orange and royal blue floor tiles, and LED lights that change colour throughout the day sets the tone across the space. Further decorative elements, such as Jarritos and Mexican memorabilia add to the theme, while the custom-built karaoke room and a playful “press for tequila” button lets guests in on the fact that this is both a serious cocktail spot and a place to have some fun.

Drinks at El Primo Sanchez focus on tequila and mezcal, with sotol, raicilla and pulque all playing into the mix. As guests might expect, there is a sizable collection of bottles including some rare and hard to find agave spirits. Anything not sourced from Mexico is kept as local as possible, with an emphasis on traceability, seasonality and sustainability. Signature drinks like the Sanchez Margaritas, neat tequila or the group jugs are served in custom glassware engraved with ‘P. Sanchez’ and the bar regularly puts frozen serves on, adding a fun twist to the traditional Margarita experience.

Cocktails are very much a collaborative effort, with the entire team involved in brainstorming concepts and refining recipes. Special attention is given to minimising waste, with ingredients like mandarin peels, chilli peppers, and leftover kitchen produce repurposed to create flavorful syrups and cordials. Techniques such as oleo sacrum, fat-washing, and vacuum infusion are then employed to highlight the natural flavours.

Early evening, El Primo Sanchez serves as a casual dinner and drinks destination, but things liven up quickly. The bar hosts DJs on weekends, playing a mix of music from reggaéton to  Aussie crowd-pleasers. On Sundays, vinyls are brought out for the bar’s ’amigos discoteca psicodelica’ and during the week, a playlist of  Spanish music genres complements the lively atmosphere.

Behind the scenes and outside of service – this is an incredibly tight knit team – who spend time together outdoors either playing supports or socialising together. Aside from physical wellbeing – mental wellbeing is also incredibly important to the El Primo Sanchez staff and formal sessions are provided and time off or away from the bar is actively encouraged when needed. The business aspires to promote from within so many the opening team now hold managerial or supervisory roles.

Creating a sense of community amongst their staff and other Sydney-based bartenders (many of whom are immigrants and far away from home) is more than just lip service at El Primo Sanchez – the venue manager has founded a not-for-profit initiative called ‘The Butterfly Society” – which is best described in their own words…

“The Butterfly Society takes inspiration from the Monarch butterflies that travel from Canada through to Mexico for more tropical weather during winter. The butterflies all work together to make sure they all make it to Mexico safely. In the same way – The Butterfly Society makes sure people feel adapted as it’s not easy coming to a new country and starting your life from zero. Through activities and educational programs, The Butterfly Society gives the opportunity for hospitality workers to get together, draw inspiration from each other and creates a sense of community to further help with their adaptation in a new country.”

“The feel of the place was in a word - electric. There was pzazz and charm a plenty, but there was so much fun to be had in every corner of the bar..”

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