Bathed in the romantic glow of pokie machine lights, a trannie in a g-string leotard makes out with a very conservative-looking man as I walk up the steps of the infamous Taxi Club (aka the Grosvenor Club).
So infamous, in fact, that Bar Zine’s distinguished and well-heeled board of directors warned against my reviewing this venerable institution, arguing that we usually cover elegant and upmarket cocktail, wine and beer bars. Their problem wasn’t so much the clientele (think trannies, taxi drivers and clubbers who’ve gone astray) but the décor, which is like an RSL that has been given a light sprinkling of pixie dust. As such, on the first floor you have pokies next to a stage that has a disco ball above it, along with functional but hardly elegant furniture on which queens perch precariously in their heels.
Yet my argument to Bar Zine’s board was that we should be thankful we live in a city where trannies and their admirers can relax, hang out, and eat pub grub while downing a VB and playing keno. And besides, it brings back fond memories of my younger days when, in the heady 90s, I sometimes found myself on the upstairs dancefloor where the happy-pill dealer plied her trade in a bra, panties and heels (whether it’s wise to purchase behaviour modifiers from someone in underwear is questionable, but that’s another story – and besides, Bar Zine’s only vices are fermented and feline).
But that was another era and tonight I’m heading to the upstairs club, where they’re playing dark retro punk, new wave and goth music (think Joy Division, David Bowie, The Smiths and The Cure). Some of the black-clad crowd tonight look like they could use the feel-good services of the bra-and panties dealer, judging from the girl who’s staring sullenly at her table to a pony-tailed guy who’s sullenly staring at the crowd, but …
Hang on a second – this should be a review of the Taxi Club, not of the one-off darkwave night I’m going to for nostalgia’s sake.
Back to business.
The upstairs bar has a mirrored wall, dancefloor and is small with a bar at one end. I think it’s a good size for intimate club nights and parties but my gay wingman, who also once soothed his dark teenage soul by listening to Nine Inch Nails and The Pixies, disagrees and doesn’t like it.
Still, you could argue that the true nature of this late night venue (open until 6am on the weekends) comes into being in the main bar downstairs, where there are karaoke nights on Fridays, drag shows on Saturdays and bingo on Mondays. And let’s face it, where else does bingo and drag come together?
40-42 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst. Phone 9331 4256 or see the Taxi Club website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate the Taxi Club?