We’ve all been there. Out in the city, vibes are high, friends in tow. But venues are shut, kitchens are closed, and the rainbow of Smith's crisps hanging behind the bar just isn’t going to cut it. Swillhouse – the hospitality group behind grand Sydney diners Le Foote and Hubert – have done something about it. Welcome to The Caterpillar Club, a late-night cocktail lounge and live-music venue beneath Pitt Street.

Descend the stairs past a lino print by artist and co-owner Allie Webb (who’s also hand-painted every panel in the huge former strip joint), push through the door and you’ll arrive in another world. Warm lights are dressed in frilly skirts. Framed photos and old-school memorabilia plaster the walls. And a collection of 10,000 vinyl records runs the length of the bar, where Pina Coladas are supersized and skewered with parasols, and Zombies are pouring on-tap.

Head chef Isobel Whelan-Little’s menu has a touch of British, private-club energy to it. There are no big plates, everything can be eaten with your fingers, and is available until close. It’s near impossible to look past the cheeseburger and chips fried in beef fat at 3.30am – but the fish fingers with tartare and spinach-and-cheese hand pies are serious competition.

The live music program brings in jazz, new-wave, soul and funk acts. DJs turn up crate-free and spin from the formidable house collection. If you’re here to boogie, the old tenant’s private dance room at the back of the venue (now “the Den”) is, ironically, where you’d want to do it.

Otherwise slink into one of many red leather booths, or nab a golden seat in the Bamboo Room, a secret bar at the back of the venue, à la Frankie’s (RIP). This tiki bunker has a completely different vibe to the rest of the venue – snug, thatched and the only place you can try the Caterpillar Downfall cocktail.

Contact Details

Phone: No phone

Website: swillhouse.com

Updated: April 8th, 2024

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