Ex-Mojo owner to open new bar, Jangling Jack’s

nikita-ward-john-ruttan-orlan-erin-raleighThe team behind Jangling Jack’s: Nikita Ward, Jon Ruttan, and Orlan Erin Raleigh

Venues in Sydney’s Kings Cross have had a hard time of it of late, in the wake of lockout laws and increased restrictions on the service of alcohol. But one operator sees it as an opportunity.

“It’s an interesting time to be coming into the Cross at the moment, because obviously with all of the changes, the lockout laws really smashed the nightclub scene almost into the ground. That had fallout for all the other businesses,” said Jon Ruttan, who along with his partner Orlan Erin Raleigh and with the help of consultant Nikita Ward, will open Jangling Jack’s at the end of this month. Taking over the site of the former Bootleg Bar & Italian Food on Victoria Street, they hope to capitalise on the changing nature of Kings Cross and bring a top quality neighbourhood bar to the area.

“[The lockouts have] put the focus back on putting quality stuff up here, it’s not just about getting smashed Friday and Saturday. They should have more galleries up here, more bookshops — go back to the boho-type Kings Cross that did exist and is more inclusive.

“This neighbourhood’s got a lot of people in it,” he said, “and a lot of people who are cashed up, so if you do something that’s well-executed, they’ll come back,” he said.


When Jangling Jack’s opens, the venue will have been renovated featuring a large, wooden bar top, wood panelling on the walls above banquette seating, as well as seats at the bar. Mismatched rugs and textures will grace the floors, and they’re awaiting delivery of custom-built lights from Arkansas, said Raleigh.

“The way they diffuse light over the bar, the way they were so otherworldly, I kind of had to have them,” she said.

On the walls, there’ll be “a lot of Kings Cross history, a lot of blues posters, music posters.”

That musical influence is no surprise, given that Ruttan was one of the original owners of Mojo Record Bar in Sydney’s CBD and has played music all his life.

And the focus on the neighbourhood flows through into the drinks offering, which Ward said would have something for everyone.

“We really want to care about and support everyone in the area, the people that work here and the people that live here, so I guess what we’re going for is that neighbourhood local bar — that everyman’s bar — where you can buy an $8 beer or buy a $40 whisky,” she said.

The cocktail list is a big focus for Ward: think 10 well-thought out cocktails — five classics and five modern classics — and local ingredients and house-made syrups and cordials, thanks to the availability of the kitchen out back.

The food on offer will see a touch of creole and spice influence being applied to to European and mod-Oz kind of foods, with an emphasis on sharing. Slow roasted lamb and pork on Sundays will be happening as well, all at a good price point — they’re not going to be gouging you to eat.

Also on board behind the bar will be Adam Cork, formerly of The Hazy Rose.

They’re expecting to open their doors at the end of November, at 175 Victoria Street, Potts Point. They’re looking for staff now, and anyone interested in getting on board can email Raleigh at erin@janglingjacks.com.au, and follow their progress on Instagram — they’re @jangling.jacks.

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