The Swinging Cat
44 King St
Sydney CBD

The Swinging Cat is one of the city's hidden treasures and located on King Street in the CBD. It is an underground venue with moody interiors that are inspired by the oldest neighbourhood of New Orleans.

The room is dimly lit with glowing light coming from some original New Orleans gas lit street lamps.

The walls are adorned with eclectic paintings by artist Jamie Hayes that captures the spirit of New Orleans. A piano sits at one end of the room and although not currently being used, you can easily appreciate just how the jazzy tunes of the piano will add to its already soulful atmosphere.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Pete Fisher, owner of The Swinging Cat. We felt as though we had escaped to another place - taken back to a bar in the deep south.  The jazzy music filled the room and we instantly felt relaxed.

The Swinging cat delivers the ultimate cocktail experience with an impressive list that pays homage to New Orleans and it's rich drink culture, including an "Ode to Sazarac" - five variations of the classic Cognac based drink.

Pete and his team behind the bar put on a show with their impressive cocktail making techniques.
They use some hard to find ingredients such as fresh chocolate mint leaves and homemade raspberry shrub from a 200 year old recipe.

Martin, one of The Swinging Cat's experienced barmen talked us through the cocktail list.  With so many amazing cocktails to choose from Contessa Dee decided to try the popular "Hurricane". It was a bright, vibrant cocktail garnished with fresh fruit, a glazed cherry and fresh mint.  It was finished with an upside down umbrella - to signify the hurricane.  It looked and tasted incredible with a fruity mix disguising a heady combination of light and dark rums.  Contessa Zee decided to try the Peppermint Cocktail, also a favourite of Martin’s.  This cocktail contained two thirds cognac and one third Makers Mark mint bourbon slowly stirred with sugar, a rinse of Absinthe and a light dash of Angostura and Peychauds bitters. It was a smooth drink with the alcohol blended perfectly.

Contessa Dee's next was a New Orleans classic "Vieux Carre" invented in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans and named after the French term for "The French Quarter". It was rye whiskey, cognac and sweet vermouth served in a coupe with a lemon twist. It packs a punch with it’s bold flavours and was a perfect drink for the cold evening. Contessa Zee tried a New Orleans Classic - Bienville - a poached pear and cinnamon Daquiri.  The sweet poached cinnamon pear juice, Angostura white rum and fresh lime were a match made in heaven.

The bar menu is not exhaustive but the choices are perfect for an early dinner or late night supper or to graze. Pete suggested we try the quintessential New Orleans dish - the New Orleans grilled cheese with smoked Wagyu beef and Cajun spices.  You could smell the melted cheese as it hit the table and it immediately excited the taste buds. The smoked Wagyu was sourced from the Barossa, the blended bush chutney and the Heidi raclette - which had an intense perfume and a mild nutty, milky flavour - all made this "toasted sandwich" an incredible, mouth-watering meal.  

Pete also suggested we sample the Selection of Charcuterie with pickles and grilled sourdough.   They have 7 meats they rotate, including 5 on the board.

On our board we had a mild salami, a spicy salami, prosciutto and Sopressa salami.  Pete also gave us a sample of the pork and pistachio terrine.  The board was spectacular, the meats fresh and the deep flavour of the terrine was amazing.  It is ideal for sharing with friends whilst sipping on cocktails.

The Swinging Cat is a bar highly recommended by the Countesses. Its unique drinks menu pays homage to the Classic Cocktail, with an emphasis on flavour and taste. And if cocktails are not your thing, don’t worry, with its exhaustive range of champagne and wine, coupled with a fine selection of bar food, it really is a must on your bar list.

The Swinging Cat is open from 4pm to 12 am, Monday to Saturday. If you are planning to pop in on a Friday you might want to get in early.

Two Contessa's, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of The Swinging Cat. Special thanks to Pete Fisher, Martin and the rest of the team there. Big thanks also to Gabby Sigelski of Agency G for arranging this visit.

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