The Swinging Cat

Sip a signature sazerac as you let this characterful basement jazz bar whisk you away to the Big Easy.
Daniel Herborn, Orlaith Costello and Maxim Boon
Published on April 09, 2015
Updated on June 12, 2024


This personality-packed basement watering hole pays homage to the jazz-fuelled spirit of New Orleans, but with a Sydney twinkle in its eye. The brainchild of licensee Pete Fischer — who has almost two decades of experience in Sydney's bar scene, including stints at Zeta Bar and Hemmesphere — The Swinging Cat is clearly a labour of love. Hosting regular jazz performances, the King Street spot mines one of the world's great drinking cultures for inspiration and occupies an unfilled niche in Sydney's otherwise comprehensively diverse drinking scene.

The signature cocktail is the sazerac, done to suit both traditionalists and those looking for a new take on the Big Easy staple. A traditional sazerac combines five parts cognac to one part absinthe, sugar, and a touch of bitters — bearing a deliciously aniseed-based scent, it's one of the more genius combinations of the cocktail world.

If the sazerac isn't your tipple of choice, there is a selection of old fashioneds available alongside house signature cocktails and NOLA classics, as well as a small-yet-considered wine and beer offering. Head here for happy hour drinks from 4–6pm Wednesday–Saturday and save on your after-work sundowners.

The food and snack menu is brimming with contemporary takes on classic New Orleans fare. Expect mac 'n' cheese balls, spicy Cajun-style popcorn chicken, pulled pork sliders and even vegan empanadas. With gorgeously moody lighting, plush lounges and artworks ranging from plump jazz cats to voodoo motifs, this bar is an homage to New Orleans done with obvious affection and wit.


Appears in:

Sydney's Best Underground Bars for 2023


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