The Clock Hotel offers some of the most innovative cocktail experiences in Sydney and is now the “playground” for one of the city’s most adventurous cocktail barmen.
Henry Hammersla says that his favourite moment as a bartender is the look of “unexpected delight” on someone’s face when they taste a drink for the first time.
“When someone sees a drink on a list and I convince them to try it and it’s better than they thought it would be, that’s the moment when its all worth it,” he says.
Hammersla has an infectious enthusiasm for his craft.
He’s been at The Clock for just over a year and in that time has taken charge of the Whisky Bar, a unique space where customers can choose between over 200 different Whiskys from around the world, and also representing the booming Australian whisky scene.
Along with the gin bar on the balcony and the extensive cocktail list, Hammersla makes the point that The Clock is “so much more than your local pub” because of its commitment to “adventurous alcohols.”
“I love whisky because its so flexible and malleable,” he says.
“The Australian whisky scene is amazing now, and we are bringing that to The Clock with whiskys from great producers in South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.”
Hammersla started his career in cocktails in Melbourne and then worked for private functions to put himself through an acting course in Western Australia. It was there that he learned a lot about the cocktail craft from expatriates returning to Perth’s entertainment scene after periods overseas.
“I learned a bunch of stuff there that I probably would have had to go overseas to learn,” he says.
Today, he is passionate about making the Whisky Bar at The Clock a destination for people who are looking for “premium drinking experience” and who are interested in “the story of what is in the bottle.”
“I think we are changing the way we drink and it’s not so much about what the alcohol does to you, it’s about the experience of tasting and enjoying it,” he says.
Along with the Balcony Bar, which specialises in Gin, he Clock is a significant destination for cocktail lovers, in addition to its traditional role as one of Surry Hill’s best all round pubs and sports bars.
“Really, you can get whatever you want in this one place,” says Hammersla.
“You can get high echelon cocktails in two bars, a sports bar, great food, and of course you can bring your dog.
“Not many venues can boast all that.”