Hemingway’s Manly: Cocktails in the Afternoon and Bearded Men

The first thing you notice about Hemingway’s Manly is the stencil of the bearded writer above the entrance with bi-fold windows. Step through the glass doors past the writing on the wall and your eyes hone in on the action behind the bar.

Bearded men are attending to patrons placing their order of food and drink.

Hemingway's Manly
Hemingway’s Manly

Hemingway’s Manly occupies a prime spot facing the beach where The Barking Frog used to be. The restaurant and bar serving American-style bar food has owners, George McLean, Paul Fraser and Ben Pichon reeling in the crowd this Sunday afternoon.

The décor is chunky and masculine, and has an air of nostalgia that one often associates with literary cafés and bars in Paris. You’ll find books arranged haphazardly in solid dark brown bookcases against a feature wall and an old Singer sewing machine table with cutlery.

Hemingway's Manly

Hemingway's Manly
Writing on the wall

Hemingway's Manly

It is that civilised time in the afternoon where a cocktail beckons after The Taste of Manly festival. The menu with typewriter-like font is presented on individual sheets stapled inside books, much like Pane e Acqua do in Milan, though I find reading a cocktail menu inside a Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat a little quaint.

Hemingway's Manly
Cocktail menu

The liquor menu has a range of beers that include Little Creatures, Peroni and suggested mixers such as Aperol and Fanta, but the house cocktails offer a more interesting choice.

I order what is arguably the lady’s drink. Dubbed as “all things nice”, the Hemingway’s Cup is made with Hendrick’s gin, rose and apple tea, a lightly spiced syrup, and served with sliced cucumber and a tight rose bud in a Hendricks tea cup.

Hemingway's Manly
George McLean mixing Hemingway’s Cup

This is a light and summery cocktail, very apt for an afternoon, with a delicate blend of flavours ending with a gentle kick of gin . The fragrant rose bud adds another feminine touch.

Hemingway's Manly
Iced Coffee (L) and Hemingway’s Cup (R)

Mr G’s Iced Coffee cocktail looks the least bit menacing yet it hides a good measure of Patron XO Café, Vodka and a powerful espresso with a few coffee beans thrown in.

Hemingway's Manly
Feature wall bookcase

Upstairs, the vibe is a little more subdued. You can lounge on brown leather sofas with an old world feel or sit along banquettes with tables covered in black cloth. Black and white portraits of Hemingway are hung on the walls, including a photograph with Fidel Castro and one of the writer sitting in a relaxed pose wearing shorts.

Hemingway's Manly

Hemingway's Manly
Upstairs lounge and table seating

Hemingways Manly
Hemingway with Fidel Castro (R) and lounging in shorts (R)

Hemingway's Manly
Upstairs mirror and mural

The food menu brings popular American snack items such as pluto pups, nacho dogs, ribs, 2 minute noodles and a hot fudge sundae for dessert with a promise of ‘naughty stuff’.

The amenities provide the best solution for those who can’t read toilet signage after imbibing a few drinks. The ladies room with its bright pink walls and Singer sewing machine panders to my fixation of photographing restaurant toilets while the bold blue walls of the men’s scream of manliness with Keep Calm And Have A Beer.

Hemingway's Manly
Ladies’ room in bright pink

Hemingway's Manly
Sign in Men’s Toilet

Hemingway's Manly
Beneath the bar

Hemingway’s Manly lives up to its masculinity with a décor that’s a little rough around the edges and pays homage to the author who was known to enjoy his tipples. The ambience is buzzy and casual, the service is welcoming and friendly, even when it’s packing a full house and you like chatting to the bartender as he mixes your drinks.

In the age of manzilians and manscaping, bearded men certainly have appeal at Hemingway’s Manly.

Hemingway’s Manly
48 North Steyne
Sydney Australia

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.