Jamie Webb will be opening a Saloon Bar in what was The Velvet Cigar
Jamie Webb will be opening a saloon-style bar in what was the site of a strip club. Photo: Michelle Smith

Natascha Mirosch

Owner of Cabiria and Peasant, Jamie Webb, is extending his empire and opening a venue with Sydney's Shady Pines Saloon supremo Jason Scott.

The venue is the salubrious Velvet Cigar in Caxton Street, an ex-strip club. Webb and Scott are mates from way back, when they worked together at Libertine in Sydney.

"I love what he does and wanted to put together something saloon-style with food," Webb says.

The notorious venue hasn't always had such a shady past. It started life as a Friendly Society hall then a United Brothers Lodge. Arranged over two floors, it seats 300 and Webb has plans to have live music, craft beer, "good bourbon and tequila" and a bar menu that takes its influence from the deep south, with dishes like blackened catfish and popcorn shrimp.

"It's a very cool space," Webb says. “We're just doing some cosmetic stuff, but we're able to reuse a lot of things like the great old bar stools - they're just perfect for what we want."

As yet, the venture has no name, but Webb says they're looking at basing it on something from its history (not, presumably it's more recent history). The pair hope to open the saloon by April.