Tio’s lads to open new tikitastic bar, The Cliff Dive

The Cliff Dive lads

Sydney’s Oxford Street is set to get a fresh injection of tikitastic escapism when The Cliff Dive, a new bar from the boys from Tio’s, opens in late October. Located on Oxford Square in the space which housed the Gaff (and earlier, Rogues), The Cliff Dive is drawing on tiki influence from Australia’s near neighbours in PNG and East Timor.

Owners Alex Dowd, Jeremy Blackmore and Russell Martin are building out the site themselves, with the help of a close group of tradies.

Guests will enter via a narrow door down a darkened doorway illuminated only by a neon graphic at one end. There they’ll head down a dark staircase into a room thatched with bamboo and a carved wooden statue, before coming upon a handcrafted tiki paradise.

“Its not tiki in the 50’s Polynesian way,” said Dowd, “what we’re reinterpreting it to be is more about the Pacific — more regional. So we’re saying it’s a Papua New Guinean dancehall.”


“A lot of the stuff we’ve got is from Timor or PNG, artefacts-wise,” said Dowd. “It’s in our back yard,” he said of the region, “and its part of our cultural identity more — and its an aesthetic that we like a lot more,” he said. It’s more about primitive and hand-turned wood than mass-manufactured tiki mugs and leis. There is  a lot of timber and bamboo etching detailing spaces like the lean-to’s that surround the central bar.

Ordering a drink at The Cliff Dive’s other bar will be like walking up to a cave that protrudes out from one of the nooks of the basement space; the dancefloor is sunk below the general floor level and will feature a great big Jamaican street party style of speaker boxes. And there’ll be eats available too.

“We’re going to have a dumpling-wonton, pan-Asian kitchen in here,” said Dowd. “You always want to have, when you have a bar that serves food, you want to have food that’s small enough that you can hold while you have a drink. Never put your drink down because you don’t know what will happen — it’s a dangerous world out there!”

And those drinks you can get into will be a list of canned beers (including drops like Bintang, PNG’s SP, and Tiger) and rum-focused tiki cocktails — starting from a $10 price point.

They’re going to have entertainment every night they’re open (they’re looking at running from Wednesday through Sunday) and with their nightclub licence, they’ll be trading from about 6pm through to 4am.

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