If you like live music in a relaxed, intimate venue plus good food and wine, with a side of dancing during Latin nights, this is the right place for you.
505 has an interesting history. It all started as a place for musicians to jam together, and was first based in a private home. Then word of mouth made it even more popular, causing it to outgrow its previous location and move from the shadows of cultural underground and into its new venue at 280 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills.
505's décor is a mixed lot: there are booths, plush couches, tiny tables and poufs. Whatever you can get, consider yourself lucky, and guard your seat with ferociousness, as attempts to steal it will definitely be made on packed evenings, which means often. To have a shot at a seat arrive early, doors open at 7:30pm most nights and performances begin from 8:30pm.
If you've ever taken salsa classes, this is a great place to show off your moves on Thursdays, which usually happen to be the Latin-themed nights. World music concerts are a strong drawing card, as well as jazz and blues improv sessions the venue is famous for. This is the space to watch for both upcoming as well as established musicians, who love the venue and tend to come for repeat visits. Sign up for the 505 newsletter to stay in-the-know.
The café-style menu changes from season to season, offering reasonably priced fresh and delicious modern fusion selections, with well spiced dips and breads, nachos, a variety of salads and wraps, veggie curries, and traditional meat dishes like lamb skewers.
Table numbers are unusual too, and tend to be plastic and toy-shaped, including dinosaurs, dolls and manga characters like Astro Boy, making for great conversation starters. The bar has a selection of beers and spirits, but it is the extensive wine list that attracts most attention. There is also pear cider available for those with a softer palate!
The colourful crowds in attendance vary depending on the type of event. You'll find plenty of music aficionados, ranging from quite young to quite young at heart, dining couples, fashion victims (I have personally witnessed several attempts at the Carmen Miranda look), as well as a few savvy backpackers seeking more authentic Sydney thrills (i.e. those that did their research), and of course the dance floor show offs . It's a great place for a fun evening out that won't cost you the world. And the music is definitely worth it.