Step Back in Time at Dean’s Lounge, a Kings Cross Classic Reimagined for the 2020s


January 25, 2021|In Press

If you came of age in Sydney in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are you spent a few late nights curled up on a velour lounge at Dean’s Cafe. The doors were always open, a 20-cent coin for the jukebox would reward you with How Soon Is Now and the monstrous bowl of nachos was enough to feed big groups crowded around the small tables. Through the smoky haze you’d spot your friends knocking back the house red from water glasses. The waiter had long black hair and looked like he was in a band – too old for the Strokes, too young for the Black Crowes, but somewhere in between. He’d serve you your first taste of something you’d remember for years to come: the sticky-date pudding.

It was comfort on a plate. And now, after a year that made us crave comfort more than any other, take heart. Because Dean’s is back.

“To try and reproduce what it was is impossible,” co-owner Justin Marmot tells Broadsheet. He and his wife Louka Marmot (they also own Barangaroo’s Shirt Bar) opened (the more maturely named) Dean’s Lounge in November, right next door to the original. “Dean’s was different, the world was different, the Cross was different. We’ve made a Dean’s for 2020 – and it has the same soul.”

And while many of us feel a connection to Dean’s that borders on the possessive, for the Marmots it really is personal.

“It’s where Louka and I first met,” Justin says. “It was Mardi Gras night 2002 and my friends and I all ended up here. It was where we always ended up. I was a waiter at the original Dean’s for five years. Our bar manager Jaxon Jager (NolaThe Imperial Hotel) is actually my old boss’s little brother. I remember him coming in here when he was four years old.”

The new incarnation channels the soul of the old and is split over several different spaces. There’s the terrace, framed by an enormous fairy light-lit fig tree. The lounge is fitted out with op-shop-sourced couches, cosy armchairs, a retro arcade table (with Pacman and Donkey Kong), and a jukebox playing nostalgic tunes. A Twin Peaks-esque chessboard floor sits beneath six stylish leather booths that lead the way to the back bar, where old-world Hollywood glamour mixes with the owners’ own memorabilia.

There are personal touches everywhere, from an oversized art nouveau print belonging to the Marmots hanging above the central fireplace, to the display of crystal drinking paraphernalia in the back bar.

And while this might be a blasphemous question, we have to ask it: was the food at the OG Dean’s ever good? Sure it hit that late-night munchies spot, but was that all it was? The Marmots, along with chef Giuseppe Pappalardo (Shirt Bar) have taken the beloved classics of the Dean’s of yore and used their hospitality experience to improve them.

The results are impressive. The nachos is back, piled high with slow-cooked spicy beans, salsa fresca and topnotch guac. There are six jaffle options, including a four-cheese truffle-macaroni affair that has fromage on both the outside and the inside; a spanakopita jaffle made on puff pastry; and a “Sunday roast” jaffle with roast beef, piccalilli and an Oaxaca cheddar cheese mix.

Dessert includes five flavours of house-made ice-cream (including two vegan options); a tangy passionfruit cheesecake; and, of course, the dessert that put Dean’s on the map: the sticky-date pudding. The pressure’s on, but thankfully Dean’s 2.0 delivers. It’s both a blast from the past and a 21st-century-friendly dessert.

“It’s late-night boozy food,” Justin says. “At 2am, this is the place you want to be. We make everything we do simple, but we make sure it’s awesome. It’s the place you go for a cocktail before dinner, or for late-night drinks and snacks designed to soak up the booze. If you want a coffee, we have excellent coffee. Or have more cocktails.”

The cocktail list is packed with classics with some twists. There’s a Banoffee Old Fashioned, with caramelised banana and caramel. The Brooklyn Sunset has Rittenhouse rye, strawberry shrub, vermouth and an absinthe rinse, and comes topped with a floating house-made lemon meringue.

The tight wine list is accessibly priced but reflects the area’s discerning clientele. “People know their wine in Potts Point,” Justin says. “We’ve put together a list of mainly Australian, organic, biodynamic and natural wines.”

Whisky aficionados will be impressed to see that Dean’s is one of 11 Scotch Malt Whisky Society partner bars in Australia. “If you like whisky, we’ve got a little nod to some amazing whiskies here. It’s the really good shit,” Justin says.

“The whole idea is a little bit of nostalgia. Step back in time to how things used to be.”

Dean’s Lounge
7 Kellet Street, Potts Point
0403 240 456

Wed to Sun 5pm–late

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Eat Drink Play

New Opening: Meet Dean’s Lounge, Potts Points’ Late Night Cocktail Bar


December 10, 2020|In Press
Eat Drink Play

Step back in time at Dean’s Lounge in Potts Point

While Dean’s Lounge is an exciting new opening for Sydney, it takes inspiration from Potts Point’s past. In fact, you might remember a spot called Dean’s Cafe which was a Kings Cross stalwart from 1976 to 2011. And now, Dean’s Lounge delivers a fresh new take on this original venue.

Swinging open its doors last month, Dean’s Lounge finds its home in the heart of Potts Point. Inside, you’ll find a cosy drinking den perfect for sipping cocktails, chowing down on late-night snacks, playing retro video games, or spinning your favourite tracks from the bar’s vintage jukebox.

Gather your crew and settle in for a night of good food, delicious drinks, and great company. Dean’s Lounge feels akin to a well-loved living room, with comfortable lounge seating and lived-in decor that makes this cocktail bar an instant local favourite.

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Concrete Playground

This Potts Point bar has retro arcade games, a vintage jukebox and mac 'n' cheese jaffles


December 2, 2020|In Press
Concrete Playground

An old favourite is returning to Sydney in the form of a new Pott’s Point bar. Dean’s Lounge, which opened November 2020, is a reinvention of the old Dean’s Cafe, which made its home in Kings Cross between 1976 and 2011. Dean’s Lounge promises a night of cocktails, late-night snacks, retro video games and songs from a vintage jukebox.

The new owners, Justin and Louka Marmot of Barangaroo’s Shirt Bar have channelled their love of the original Dean’s into the new venue, bringing back it’s charm and character. The pair actually met at Dean’s Cafe back in 2002, while Justin was working there.

The Potts Point location has expanded into multiple rooms, providing space for private dinners and larger group bookings. The front deck is home to an open courtyard ideal for sipping cocktails on a balmy summer night. As you head inside, you’re offered one of four homely rooms inside the bar, with each one fitted with restored vintage furniture, exuding a relaxed throwback feeling.

An array of cocktails are on offer, too, including a banoffee old fashioned and Tropicana spritz. Bar Manager Jaxon Jager’s recommends the Brooklyn Sunset, a mix of rye whiskey, dry vermouth, strawberry shrub and absinthe. If you get peckish, you’ll find truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, roast beef and spicy lamb jaffles ($12–15), as well bean nachos ($15–25).

Homemade cakes — such as flourless chocolate cake ($14) and sticky date pudding ($15) — and coffee ($3.50-4.50) are also served until close if you’re looking for a somewhere to dip into for dessert or your late-night caffeine fix.

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