The Cliff Dive

The Tio's boys have done it again. And this time things are tropical.
Mairead Armstrong
Published on December 19, 2013
Updated on October 09, 2023


Don't quite have enough dosh to afford a tropical island getaway this summer? Do not fear, for you no longer need to travel far for your secluded island experience. Dubbed a "Papua New Guinean dancehall", The Cliff Dive is the tiki bar with a difference, with distinctive flavours from East Timor and PNG complete with authentic, hand-turned wooden artefacts, novelty cocktails and a sunken dance floor.

It was conceived by Jeremy Blackmore and Alex Dowd (of Tio's fame), two fellas who can't seem to help but get it oh so right. This time they have built the bar up with their bare hands. And the result is certainly worth their efforts.

Pass by kitsch neon graphics and down the darkened stairwell to reach what is a tropical oasis: a hub of beats, beards and novelty-sized tiki mugs. Previous home of The Gaff, Cliff Dive is Oxford Street's new kid on the block, within spitting distance of most of Sydney's bar scene, as well as just about every other happening Sydney scene. And the vibe is electric. DJs are scheduled most nights of the week and the dance floor begs for inappropriate, early morning grinding.

Although at first glance the drinks menu may appear somewhat basic (and perhaps a little exxy for those on a tighter budget), there really is something for everyone on offer at the two functioning Dive bars. Cocktails, starting from $10, are unique tiki concoctions with a very serious rum focus. For $10 there's a Mojito, but more interesting is the Pandang – a sweet hit of rum, fresh apple juice and pandan syrup, which lingers long after each sip.

Probably the most notable Cliff Dive bev is the Supa Colada ($17 for rum, coconut cream, coconut sugar syrup and pineapple juice). It's a few dollars extra, which becomes ever more acceptable as the night kicks on. For the tinnie lover comes an impressive range of beers — affordable options like Tiger ($8) and SP Lager ($6) from PNG to fit the theme, as well as pricier imports, such as Yo Ho Black Porter from Japan ($12).

There's food too (as if things could get any better). Bite-size barbeque pork buns (two for $8) come from the pan-Asian kitchen behind the main bar and run all night long (cue Lionel Richie sporting a lei).

With the only real drawback being its already epic popularity (seriously, come on a Friday or Saturday night and expect a line curling right around Oxford Square) the only danger in this dive is how much fun you're going to have. And perhaps the size of your hangover the next day.


Appears in:

Sydney's Best Underground Bars for 2023


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