When The Joker & Thief landed in Terrigal, it turned heads in the best possible way.


The name – a homage to Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower — is emblazoned in a hot pink neon sign that greets you at the entry and creates quite the first impression.

At the top of the stairs you’re welcomed into a venue that’s been best described as ‘Mad Men meets INXS’! The bar, the hero of the space, acts as a focal point. It’s marble-topped, timber-clad and subtly curved. The main wall has been painted in a soft pink fresco wash that gives the space originality and depth, elegantly offset by dark olive leather stools. Brass embellishes mirrors, lighting and a cute palm lamp perched on the bar, while the custom-made Calcutta viola marble tables make dishes instantly instagrammable.

The space was designed and styled by local creatives, Brent Fitzpatrick and Damien Furey of Fabric Architecture, and Xanthe Highfield of Studio Stewart Highfield.

Xanthe describes the space as, ‘a luxe beachside bar with nods to mid-century modern and classic rock and roll,’ and the soundtrack certainly adheres to this principle. Think Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, The Beach Boys Good Vibrations, and Otis Redding’s The Dock of The Bay.

The modern-Australian menu, created by head chef Dane Walker, favours the flavours of the Mediterranean, with the likes of Moroccan chicken paillard, wild mushroom arancini, and marinated char-grilled squid with a chickpea, chilli, tomato and pancetta tagine. There is a lean towards seafood here — appropriate given its proximity to the beach. Oysters come freshly shucked with lemon and namjim; prawns are tossed with linguini, cherry tomatoes and pangratatto; and soft shell crab is served fritto misto.

Their cocktail menu is extensive – from Sex on the Beach to the Rusty Nail, and 10 espresso martinis. My favourite cocktail? Clint’s Revolver. ( … I’ll be back!)

The Joker and Thief, Shop 6/90 The Esplanade, Terrigal. Open Tuesday to Thursday 5 pm till late, Friday 12 pm till midnight, Saturday 10 am till midnight, Sunday 10 am till late.

Words Katie Stokes


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