Today marks the opening of Odd Culture Group’s newest venue, Pleasure Club, a basement cocktail bar and live music haunt situated in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, promising a world of performance and experimental concoctions.

Licensed until 4am Wednesday to Sunday, the 120-seat bar is home to late night entertainment experiences and state of the art cocktails. Featuring a 1950s vinyl jukebox, plush booths and a disco ball, the venue is designed to be a sanctuary that explores the duality of pleasure and pain in human experience.

Nick Zavadaszky, Creative Director of Odd Culture Group, says patrons should expect the unexpected.

“It really will be a different beast depending on the occasion. There will be some heaving and revelrous late nights as well as some pared back, lo-fi shows.

“We’ve spent a lot of time engineering the journey from evening into late-night, with cues for transitioning to what we call Dark Service around the 11pm mark. You’ll have to experience that one for yourself. At Pleasure Club, you can always expect good service, good drinks, and to be entertained – the path by which you get there, though,  may be a wildcard on any given night.”

As a group, Odd Culture is committed to providing free entertainment that engages and invests in the independent artist community, and Pleasure Club’s diverse entertainment offering has been curated by the group’s Entertainment Manager Sabrina Medcalf.

Pleasure Club entertainment

With everything from psychedelic rock shows to live theatre and audience interaction, Medcalf says the intension is for every guest to connect with the venue’s raw and untamed essence.

“Crafting the entertainment experience at Pleasure Club has felt akin to curating the art inside a grand museum. Art defies convention, or at least the best art should. It’s immersive, experimental, subjective, confronting and stirs something in you which is everything the Pleasure Club entertainment bill seeks to offer.

“Surrender to your primal instincts, embrace the allure of sin, and revel in the celebration of the unique and unconventional. When that curtain opens, expect the unexpected.”

Entertainment lineups will be announced monthly through Pleasure Club’s social media platforms, with secret shows and surprise announcements for rare and special gigs also peppered into the programming.

Speaking about the notion of live entertainment, Zavadszky added: “I think everyone is realising how important the arts are in our lives, and that experiences are more valuable than conventional transactions of product. They engage with our senses in ways which are more profound and introducing this diversified offering as a kind of new norm is really levelling up the industry for the better.”

Pleasure Club cocktails

On the drinks front, Creative Beverage Lead and General Manager Sam Kirk (ex-Jacksons on George, The Coldroom – El Pequeño Bar) has curated a seasonal cocktail program coined A Pleasure Club Story, that will see the venue collaborate with leading bartenders on unique cocktail stories.

International bar world figure Matt Whiley has collaborated with Kirk on Pleasure Club’s debut story, Nostalgia Machine, which aims to evoke feelings of nostalgia through modern cocktail techniques, distillates and infusions, including serves such as Passion Pop, Vegemite, Chicken Parm and Cherry Ripe.

“The drinks are made seriously but approached in a cheeky, lighthearted way and are made to challenge your senses,” says Kirk.

“We have had a lot of fun going off the beaten track and trying unconventional methods to achieve the right result. We’re not afraid to get experimental and do what it takes to evoke the right sensory experience, and have spent a lot of time playing with ingredients you’d never really expect.”

At 11pm each night, when the Dark Service menu comes into play, Pleasure Club will add to its menu of signature offerings with new and rotating concoctions that allow the bar team to be experimental in their creations.

The food menu, curated by Odd Culture Group’s Executive Chef James MacDonald as a high quality take on dive bar-esque food, comprises just four hot dogs, with two meat and two vegan options and the option to add frites, kraut and mustard toppings.

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