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The Caterpillar Club

Swillhouse brings another moody underground haunt to Sydney with this walk-in only record and cocktail bar — with a must-try cheeseburger.
By Ben Hansen
January 09, 2024
By Ben Hansen
January 09, 2024

If Swillhouse can nail anything, it's a city-best moody underground venue — and the hospo crew's impressive CBD bar The Caterpillar Club is just that.

From the team behind beloved subterranean standouts Frankie's (RIP), Restaurant Hubert and Shady Pines (plus Le Foote and Alberto's Lounge) the inner-city haunt is serving up sultry tunes, exceptional service and incredible cocktails right by Martin Place.

Discover the venue's hidden entryway tucked away among office buildings and convenience stores on Pitt Street, then descend down the stairwell to find the expansive new walk-in-only record bar in all of its glory.

On arrival you'll find an ultra-long bar backed by shelves filled with more than 10,00 records — one of the biggest private collections in the country. At the end of the bar, there's a DJ spinning selections from the collection, before the space opens up into a lounge area with larger tables, romantic red booths and a stage for live bands.

Every time you head in, you can expect either one of the city's top tastemakers on the decks or a tight-knit band jamming out. A genre-less list of performers is known to pop up with an emphasis on jazzier sounds.

Leading the kitchen is culinary superstar Isobel Little (ex-LP's Quality Meats), who's crafted a casual but sophisticated selection. The cheeseburger is one of Sydney's best, standing tall while remaining perfectly soft and juicy. There's also a tuna melt perfect for a late-night feed and bite-sized lettuce leaves topped with crab and avocado.

The bartenders here are happy to whip up your favourite standard, but there are a few delightful Caterpillar Club creations to dive into. The cherry Manhattan is a particular highlight — so good you'll struggle to savour it for longer than a few sips.

The final element of The Caterpillar Club is the hidden speakeasy. Found through a discrete door out the back, The Bamboo Room serves as a secret cocktail den for those in the know, reviving memories of Frankie's famous Fun Room. And, in Frankie's and Shady Pines style, the specialty here is freshly squeezed grapefruit juice paired with vodka or gin and a salt rim.

The venue not only serves as another exciting place to get a drink and listen to good music in Sydney, but also adds to the growing number of venues reviving the city's status as a late-night destination. Licensed until 5am, The Caterpillar Club keeps the martinis flowing, vinyl spinning and kitchen open all the way until 3am Sunday–Thursday, and 4am Friday–Saturday.

Images: Andrea Veltom
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