Located on the corner of Cleveland and Bourke streets, just across the way from Bar Cleveland and down the strip from rock 'n' roll tavern Vasco, Black Penny is a jumping beer and cocktail joint that's spread the small bar word a little past its traditional habitat further up in 2010.
Step in off the pavement and you'll reach a slender room with some high tables set snug up against a lovely mural-covered wall. There are some perches up against the window facing Cleveland Street, and if you can stand the non-stop whizz of traffic, street-side seats. The bar and kitchen is up a few stairs towards the back of the room. Just beyond, a corridor leads to another room which plays host to art exhibitions and live performances.
At the bar, there's Riverside Sixty Nine Summer Ale and Balmain Pale Ale on tap, as well as Murray's, 4 Pines and Coopers in bottles. There are also plenty of cider options and a local wine list which ticks all the right boxes. Cocktail-wise, try one of the seven deadly sins like 'Wrath', which has tequila, Cointreau, lemongrass, ginger and chilli. They also do classics (with a bit of a twist). Consider the 'High Roller' with cucumber, gin, elderflower liquor and lime and the 'All In' with vanilla vodka, Frangelico, lime and lemonade.
For when all those cocktails get a bit dizzying, the food menu offers share plates and bar snacks. In the latter category you'll find marinated olives, crispy onion rings and chicken skewers. On the share plate side, split some kangaroo skewers, fried chicken or some meatballs.
Black Penny isn't aiming to be Sydney's flashiest bar. Instead, it's going for a friendly neighbourhood vibe, and its great craft beer selection, well-thought out cocktail list, and art and performance space, is just the extra cherry in your cocktail.