Below pavement level on King Street in the CBD there’s a den of New Orleans-inspired drinks, food and jazz. Pete Fischer (previously The OXO Tower at Harvey Nichols, Zeta Bar, Hemmesphere, Level 6) is behind this new small bar, and it is the culmination of all his extensive bar experience to date. Delivered with moody vibes and clever simplicity.

It took several years to find the right location for his first solo venture, but Fischer says it’s been worth the wait. It is just hidden enough to create intrigue, filled with French street lamps and accented with slightly creepy art sourced on a research trip to New Orleans. The tight food menu is designed to be delivered quickly and match a drinks menu that boasts a whole sazerac cocktail section. “Most of the drinks are New Orleans classics,” says Fischer. “We tried to take the sazerac from its beginnings as a cognac base, all the way through to modern day twists, using single-malt scotch, rye whiskeys and bourbons.”

The Calvados sazerac might be a good place to start. “We use an atomizer [a spray bottle] for the absinthe instead of rinsing the glass,” which he says helps with bouquet. “And we use crystal glass because it keeps the temperature lower longer.” There’s a premium cured meat range for the hefty charcuterie board but keep an eye out for the grilled-cheese sandwich, with raclette cheese, bush tomato chutney and smoked wagyu. You might even hear some live jazz, but you’ll have to find the bar first.

The Swinging Cat
44 King Street, CBD (below street level)
(02) 9262 3696

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat 4pm–midnight