Image for Shhh! Sydney Fringe’s speakeasy no longer on the downlow

Shhh! Sydney Fringe’s speakeasy no longer on the downlow

Written by Lauren Carroll Harris on August 23, 2011

Throw on your glad rags and join us for some lollygagging and unabashed whoopee at Five Eliza, where New York speakeasy meets Newtown Bohemia.

Smooth licks and risqué rhythms. Cocktails and beer. Free-thinking and jangled morals!

In September The Sydney Fringe will uncover a forgotten corner of our city and unveil the 2011 Festival Club. Open from 2pm ‘til late daily with music, food, drink, décor and atmos inspired by the style of a Chicago Speakeasy but with a Newtown twist. And live music Tuesday to Saturday nights from 8pm: eg Tuesdays and Wednesdays feature Speakeasy Jazz from Geoff Bull’s New Orleans Four … plus a few surprises from around the festival!

The School of Arts Ballroom in Newtown is a hidden gem. Built around 100 years ago, this building evokes the atmosphere of a bygone era’s gentleman’s club, which is indeed how it began. The high ornate ceilings, chandeliers and wooden floor make it the perfect room for a subtle transformation into our speakeasy lounge Five Eliza.

The ballroom was once home to the Gaiety Club and will again become the place to relax with a cocktail, meet friends, mix with artists, tap a toe to the music and kick back your heels with the Fringe crowd.

Discreetly tucked away at Number 5 Eliza Street, just across the road from Newtown Station, this fragrant whiff of illicit hedonism will pop-up for 3 weeks only. The joint will be jumpin’ … you just have to knock on the right door.

Bar manager Tom Gibson has promised classic southern liquor to match the décor and the mood … Whiskey Sours, Sazeracs and – in pride of place – an Absinthe fountain!

It’s a theme that will doubtless attract some of the Underbelly-Razor gang types … and Tom isn’t shying away from it. “Some drink to forget … some to remember …” says Tom. “Either way, you’re welcome to get ‘absinthe-minded’ at Five Eliza!”

Food will include pastries, pies, rolls and quiches from Newtown’s legendary Black Star patisserie. Plus, for caffeine addicts, a bottomless cup of Joe!

Festival events at Five Eliza include:

  • A weekly Absinthe masterclass (history, alchemy, mixing and drinkin’) each Saturday at 12 noon (Sept 17 and 24, Oct 1);
  • Free live music with Geoff Bull’s New Orleans Four Tues and Wed plus featured jazz and blues bands Thurs, Fri and Sat nights (see separate program), courtesy of our festival partner Eastside Radio;
  • Plus Storytelling on Sundays at 2pm!

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