The Pinnacle Guide

MAYBE SAMMY

Sydney, Australia

Maybe Sammy brings hotel bar-like decadence to Australia, without any of the usual rules, resulting in a venue that is itself the life of the party.

No reservations
Walk-ins only (Max 8 people)
Not an accessible venue

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

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STAFF DEVELOPMENT

The team is the heart of Maybe Sammy, and to foster this, there is a shared commitment to individual growth. Formal foundational training is supplemented with comprehensive development plans and rotational roles to enhance skill sets. Outside of professional development, more unconventional sessions designed to foster team bonding and wellbeing take place – including Ice Bath & Breathwork sessions, wellness workshops and even a class on the ancient practice of Ferasa Face Reading.

DETAILS OF NOTE

Maybe Sammy is known for its flavour blaster which creates a smoke bubble over the top of a cocktail. The team call it a game-changing device that has wowed guests and enabled them to seamlessly handle high-volume demands in recent years. But that isn’t the only garnish created in-house, in fact the Sammy team have recently mastered isomalt, meringue, tuiles, and coconut crackers.

The Pinnacle Guide

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Taking inspiration from the roaring 50s, a time of The Rat Pack and Hollywood glamour, walking into Maybe Sammy is like walking into a hotel lobby straight out of a storybook, albeit a small one. It’s perennially sunny, the party is just about to start and the cocktails are as flamboyant as the bartenders. 

Maybe Sammy is a bar that broke the mould when it was first opened by a rowdy crew of Italians in Sydney. Previous to this venue, bars in Australia followed a more pared back, dark and minimal style. Instead, here guests walk into another world, designed to be glamorous, flirtatious and a bit silly. Daylight floods into the venue in the afternoon, giving a warm bath of light to the marble counters, its long forest green bar front, pink velvet couches and the pale wooden arched back bar. Bartenders in pale pink jackets bring complimentary bar snacks, occasional splashes of champagne and offer more than a drink, they offer a show. Some weekends there’s a queue outside and extended seating has popped up on the pavement to offer more people a chance of some of Sammy’s magic. 

Behind the theatrics, the bubble cocktails and the bartenders tapping out the lyrics to Tequila by The Champs on bottles, using their bar spoons as drum sticks, is a very serious cocktail program. Most guests will remember the feeling of Maybe Sammy more than they might remember exactly what was in each drink, which is the aim of the venue, but regardless of how outshone they might be, the drinks are crafted and executed to extremely high-standards. When creating their menus, the whole team is involved, working together to create drinks that not only delight guests, but challenge themselves professionally. Each team member brings their own creations to the conversations and there is a comprehensive process to build these out and structure the menu, culminating in a soft launch for friends and family to refine the final outcome. 

The drinks style here is very modern, with every tool utilised by the team to distil, clarify, infuse, ferment, carbonate and milk-wash ingredients. Ingredients are produced with respect for the environment and focus on small producers, fair trade or organic. Guests will not see a rotavap on their visit, but their drink will be served quickly even at the busiest of times and the bartenders will still have time to engage and entertain. That is all down to the bar’s dedicated lab located down the road – with a full-time employee just to do Maybe Sammy’s prep. 

Despite the intensive work behind the scenes, guests can still rely on the team to make off-menu classic drinks and on quieter week-nights, the venue can feel more like a swanky cocktail lounge with more traditional service. However, later in the week, as the atmosphere switches from afternoon to evening, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr are swapped for more high-energy music. Every Friday between 5pm-9pm Mister Rock n Rolla plays hits from 1950-1966 and live DJs play late into the night on the weekends. Soul, funk, disco and even hip hop can be heard. 

To maximise their efficiency once the party gets going, the team utilise the 80/20 rocket rule, inspired by the space rockets that utilise 80% of their fuel while still on earth and only 20% in space. 80% of Maybe Sammy’s efforts go into the meticulous preparation and mise en place before they even open the doors. The remaining 20% is all saved for service and they believe this to be the key to their seamless blend of spectacle and effectiveness.

Part of that preparation is the team’s daily practice of gathering 30 minutes before opening the doors, where the first 15 minutes are a paid break dedicated to ensuring everyone has food, water, and a moment to relax. The additional 15 minutes are used for a comprehensive team briefing, creating a supportive environment that prioritises the physical and mental health of the staff.

“Every member of staff from the host, to the floor staff looked like they were having an absolute ball, and still catering to customers' needs despite the masses who had descended on their little corner of Sydney.”

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