First it was peanuts, then pretzels and now popcorn. Simple staple foods of a recent breed of Sydney small bars. Tio’s Cerveceria is the latest addition and since owners Alex and Jeremy originate from the Shady Pines family it’s easy to see where they inherit their winning formula.
Nestled on Foster St, just up from Cafeish, Bar H and around the corner from Hotel Hollywood is where you’ll find this tequila haven. Follow the kitsch, fluorescent sign and step into what was once a sterile cooking school. No shiny white tiles in sight, rather a low lit warm bar piled with giant jars of pickles, an exciting range of agave bliss and quirky pictures and ornaments strung along the wall.
The tattoo covered, rockabilly bartenders are a friendly lot, mad about tequila and eager to share their knowledge. Ask for a cocktail menu and they’ll hand you a napkin with two words ‘Menu: Tequila’. Leave it to the barman and he’ll fix you a $10 cocktail including a Tequila Sunrise with orange juice and home-made grenadine. The El Roberto Especiale is a popular choice made of fresh green apple juice, cucumber slices, tequila, lime and three-herb syrup.
If beer is more your thing order cans of Rio Bravas and enjoy cheap Mexican beer for $5. If you’re a straight shooter have the bar staff pour you some of their rare tequila from the top shelf.
As for food, the smell of freshly popped corn fills the air. Handed out in a brown paper bag they’ll keep you busy snacking at the bar. If you’re really lucky you might get to try a pickled quail egg (sounds weird but tastes amazing).
Tio’s formerly translates to uncle and in slang means dude. Like most relatives you can only handle them in small doses so either start or finish your night at this bar. With no substantial food on offer and way too many tequilas to try you could easily overstay your welcome and end up on the polished concrete floor. You’ve been warned.
4 – 14 Foster Street, Surry Hills
Mon-Sat 4pm-12 midnight; Sun 12-10pm