55 Liverpool St Sydney, New South Wales 2000
It has been a little more than a year since Goodgod Small Club opened in an old underground taverna in Sydney's Spanish Quarter. The owners have given it the cool touch, with crazy party nights featuring local bands and DJs swigging on Hennessy, but retained its gaudy Spanish feel with the nightclub's charming name, the danceteria and decor that belongs to Ibiza circa 1960.
Until now, you had to walk through the defunct front bar, an eerily deserted room with weird whitewashed booths and ancient party decorations, to reach the innocuous door to the danceteria. Ignorant party-goers who sat in the empty bar thinking they'd found Goodgod will be happy to know it has now opened for business.
TOUTED AS A LATE-NIGHT HAVEN for workers to loosen their ties and knock back some sangrias, the Goodgod front bar has a vibe that's a bit off-the-wall. Aesthetically it's a hoot. There are white stucco walls, a chequered dance floor, a bar inlaid with pebbles that glow like jelly beans, arty murals created by one of the bar's promoters, cave-lit fernery, retro seating and colourful lights. Then there's the high-walled whitewashed grotto booths that look utterly bizarre but are a mighty fine place to get rowdy with a jug of Pat Cash Coolah (vodka and green coolah with the instruction to "sweat it in", $25).
COCKTAILS ARE NOT WHAT THIS BAR IS ABOUT, the owners tell me, although the menu lists a few by the glass and by the jug. It's just as well because they're nothing special. Instead, grab a beer, a bottle of wine or a jug of something and party like it's 1989. We enjoy a jug of Pimm's with gin, ginger liqueur, sparkling ginger ale and cucumber ($28) and the cheap 'n' cheerful sangria with blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, Chambord and Licor 43 with white wine and soda ($30). For the more committed drinker there's a bottle-keep service whereby regulars can buy their own bottle to whip out each time they visit.
IN KEEPING WITH THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE approach to drinks and decor, the only snacks available, at least until the kitchen gets cranking next year, are jaffles ($8). Dagginess at its best. Nothing goes down like a pastrami, cheese, onion chutney and mustard toasted sandwich served with a little flag on top when you've had one jug too many. On some nights, a DJ will rock up with not only his bag of records but also some snacks he's baked that day. I'm quite upset to hear I've missed out on DJ Paul Jextra's pissaladerie, stuffed tomatoes and Jextratatouille (his special ratatouille).
IF TOO MUCH COOLAH MAKES you restless, head to the danceteria, which has quickly developed a reputation for wild nights covering all corners of the musical spectrum, from live indie bands to Jamaican reggae, '50s soul, rockabilly and tropical house music. The music policy, like everything else here, is a bit what-the-hell and somehow it just works.