Saturday, March 17, 2012

Call Me A Cab

It's been an institution since it opened in 1958.
The Taxi Club in Flinders Street, Darlinghurst is a 24 hour club that originally catered for taxi drivers coming off their shifts, at 3pm and 3 am.

It soon became one of the most popular venues in Sydney and the place to end up after a night out to continue the celebrations. By 4am the joint was jumping and it stayed that way until around 10.30 am when it shut it's doors for one hour so the cleaners could give it the once over.

The great fun about the Taxi Club was the sheer variety of clientele : taxi drivers, off duty coppers, high court judges, bank robbers, drag queens, con men and a huge swathe of the gay and lesbian community long before Oxford Street became the gay haven it is now. In fact eventually the club changed it's constitution to state that it's prime objective was to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.

And you could be sure that any visiting celebrity would end up partying at the Taxi- Tom & Nicole watched a drag show as did Morgan Freeman. 
Bruce Springsteen played the pokies for 2 hours, Liberace called in for a drink as did Sammy Davis Jr and Shirley Bassey while Winifred Atwell often gave a impromptu performance at 2am.
The Shuttle once spotted Hollywood Legend Van Johnson nursing a drink at the bar.
lethal stairs
Around 5am a burly truck driver may discover that a transgender status was no barrier to a night of romance and there were many tales about the noted magistrate who was fond of stilettos and skimpy frocks who often lured heterosexual men to the car park next door in the early hours and never once had anything other than a 'happy ending'.

And if anyone got out of control which was frequent before the club clamped down on drug use, the tales of who was ejected via the narrow staircase to the street below were legendary. Most woke up in hospital with no memory of where they had been the night before.

Sadly with the proliferation of nightclubs around Sydney that are mainly a variation on the last one, the Taxi Club has suffered for the past few years and is no longer financially viable. On April 6th it's doors close forever.