At The Bar with Mondo Psycho Singer Carla Lippis

The Write Drop speaks to Adelaide-based singer and composer Carla Lippis, known for her howling energy as front woman of Mondo Psycho, who channels her rock’n’roll repertoire through a beastly lashing of wild performance art. She shares her favourite wineries in Adelaide, where she gets her rock’n’roll kicks and spills the stories from her time in London’s Soho bohemian scene.

She is currently working on a show for Adelaide Festival 2024 with Adelaide based Dance Theatre company, Restless Dance. A new full length album by Mondo Psycho is out now.


Adelaide is small, but lots of things to love about it. There’s fabulous beaches 15-minute drive from the city, our famous Central Market, the beautiful Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale wine regions. Adelaide sometimes gets a bad rap, but the pace and ease of living allows for great mental space that lets the creativity flow. Time is of the greatest value when you’re an artist, and the fact that one isn’t stuck in traffic for very long is fantastic. These days I love to go to the Olivia Hotel on Hutt Street and The Grace Emily on Waymouth Street in the CBD. The cool thing about getting older is you now know all the bar owners, so there’s always a welcome smile and some chat when you go there.


In the mid 2000’s I owned a classic Adelaide night spot called The Elephant Walk. It was a long, narrow, low red lit room separated by little private booths made of wicker, red felt lined the walls and two giant teak elephants that greeted you at the door. It was a mix of tiki kitsch and 80’s boudoir.  We only sold desserts, and no alcohol. We were THE date place. Romances, breakups, affairs, it all happened at The Walk. Lines around the block on a Saturday night, and all with no booze. Sometimes I would catch people getting up to all sorts in those booths.  We had a limited menu, and my favourite item was the sticky date pudding. Warm gooey caramel goodness, served with a buttery sweet sauce and ice-cream. How many nights I ate that damn pudding for dinner while I worked. People loved to stay for hours, and I would play The Virgin Suicides soundtrack by Air to freak them out enough to know it was closing time. The Elephant walk was a fabulous relic of the 80’s, alas the world moves on and I sold the business in 2011. It closed a couple of years ago, but the memories will last forever.


I lived in London for five years, and my favourite place to drink was The French House on Dean Street in Soho. It was a very small three-storey London pub with very strict rules – no pints and no phones.  Historically, The French House was the meeting place of London’s artists, writers and actors, notably Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas and even Errol Flynn!  Before I started singing full time in the west end clubs, I worked behind the bar and in the kitchen, assisting my dear friend and personal rock’n’roll chef to the stars, Robbie Grantham-Wise. We had met in Australia on the P!nk tour years prior, he was her personal chef and I was his assistant. Robbie’s food was incredible, and it was through him I got to feel like I was a real part of the bohemian Soho scene. He would take me to the members clubs, and told me wonderful stories about the iconic night spots of the late 70’s and 80’s like The Blitz. They only sold halves of a French lager, Meteor, and one-on-one conversation was encouraged. The bartenders are known to scold anyone who answered their phone, frantically waving them to take their calls outside. I loved this about the French.  The wine list consisted of only French and German wines, and my favourite was the Macon Villages Les Florieres.


I’d probably be an Australian made Prosecco – I’m an Italo-Australian who plays rock’n’roll – shake me up enough and I’ll explode.


Peach flavoured Hydralite, followed by a frozen Coke and some hot chips. I tend to go through the pain of hangovers and not consume any “hair of the dogs”.


I’m super excited about my friend Joe Jones’s new Melbourne city bar, The Purple Pit. Joe’s a well-seasoned, creative mixologist who can also cook up a storm. I can’t wait to sample his cocktail list.


I have recently discovered the joys of chilled red wine. The hangovers can be brutal, but who knew cold red wine could be so fabulous on a hot day. In particular I adore the Pate by Alpha Box and Dice – a lush trousseau from the Adelaide Hills/McClaren Vale region in SA. I also love a good bottle of French Champagne, in particular Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, but if the budget doesn’t allow it, I will grab a bottle or two of the Pinot Noir Chardonnay by Gan Eden.


Being from Adelaide, that’s a tough one! I can’t just pick one. My favourite wineries to visit are Alpha Box & Dice and Coriole Vineywarss in McLaren Vale.


I was in Hobart earlier this year to play with Mondo Psycho at Dark Mofo, and I had the joy of discovering the Taylor & Smith distillery. They make a refreshing bottled Citrus & Almond Gin Sour that is delightful to drink over ice. My suitcase came back full of Tasmanian liquors.


Melbourne. I can’t stay away for too long. Melbourne is like the cool older sister of Adelaide. She knows about all the music scene, where to eat and drink, and you make special trips just to hang out with her.




Get Social


Don't miss

At The Bar with Alchemy Brewing Co’s Pim Muter

Alchemy Brewing Co’s Owner and Brewer Pim Muter runs...

At The Bar with Fiona Sweet – CEO of The Stella Prize

From Linda McCartney’s first major Australian retrospective to American...

A NON alcoholic vice with Aaron Trotman

Premium non-alcoholic brand NON has certainly made some serious...

At The Bar with Fashion Designer Estelle Michaelides

Melbourne fashion designer Estelle Michaelides is best known for...

At The Bar with Morena Sommelier Pablo Toledo

Head Sommelier Pablo Toledo showcases the best of Latin...