Eat & Drink
Newcastle West

mad poet

Records, wine, and boozy desserts on Hunter Street

The western end of Hunter Street has landed itself a new bar. Joining the lineup of quality small bars in this end of town is mad poet, a listening bar that serves up wine, charcuterie, and boozy desserts while spinning records.

The brainchild of musicians and bandmates Dylan James Oakes and Gary Seeger alongside his wife, Sophie Seeger, mad poet opened on Thursday January 11 after 10 months of planning and tweaking.

The result is a low-key, intimate, and inviting space where music is the topic of conversation and interesting wines are pouring. The idea for mad poet came about when Dylan and Gary first started jamming and formed their band, Les Poétes Pop – hence the name of the bar. 

“While we were hanging out and doing that, we’d have one another over and I’d bring over bottles of wine, then Sophie would do a charcuterie board, then Gary and I would play and argue about music,” Dylan said.

mad poet small bar newcastle west

Gary has been in the music industry for 40 years, while Dylan has worked in the entertainment and hospitality industry for 20 years, alongside being a musician and creator of West Best Bloc Fest. Dylan’s interest was piqued by the idea of opening a listening bar – a type of bar that originated in Japan in the 1950s, where records were played while drinks were poured. It’s a concept that’s gaining steam once again, especially in big artistic cities.

“Usually what’s going to happen here is we’ll put a record on, someone might ask me or talk to me about it, and it will spark a conversation. It’s very heavily focused and curated by the music. Between Gary and I, there’s 70 or 80 years worth of music up on the shelves. There’s just under 2500 records here.”

With such a whopping vinyl collection, there’ll always be a variation in the tunes that are played, depending on the mood. You might be drinking to the crooning sounds of Frank Sinatra one night, nodding your head to The Kinks the next, or dancing to flamenco music and grooving to Kylie Minogue to cap things off.

While you appreciate the music, sample a few of the drops from the wine list. There’s always a few varieties available by the glass, which will rotate every so often. Drawing mainly from the Hunter Valley, France, and Italy, there’s a decent (but not overwhelming) selection of wines to complement the bar’s charcuterie offering.

Dylan didn’t want the noise of shaking cocktails to overwhelm the music, so while there are a few classic cocktails available at mad poet, make sure you try one of the alcoholic sorbets or ice creams by The Boozy Spoon. It’s certainly a unique offering, and we can’t get enough – the strawberry margarita sorbet is delicious.

If beer is more your thing, the bar has a few Young Henrys brews in cans, or local beers on its eye-catching beer tap.

“The beer tap is from the Fortune of War pub in The Rocks – it was a present from Adam at The Rogue Scholar. He was given that years ago, and he’s been looking for a home for it, and he thought it would look perfect in here.”

mad poet small bar newcastle west

Dylan is also proud to be offering a full range of non-alcoholic drinks, from Plus and Minus wines, to Lyre’s Spirit Co spirits and Heaps Normal beer.

Keep your eyes peeled for events at mad poet too, like poetry nights and listening parties. With so much potential for entertaining conversation and interesting music, drop in for a drink at mad poet and see where the evening takes you.