In the well-lit dining room of El Alazan, dollar bills are flying. Waiters whisk expensive cuts of meat and bottles of whisky between tables; a couple dances to a band playing in the corner.
This steakhouse in the affluent Altamira neighbourhood is busier than ever and the front desk juggle payments with wads of cash.
Juan, a nightclub owner in his sixties who sips a vodka and orange at the bar, says he has come here with his friends as "there is nowhere else in Caracas you can do this right now".
Outside, the streets are deserted as night falls, a crippling nationwide blackout imposing a de facto curfew after another long day of searches for food, water, and fuel.
All but a tiny sliver of Venezuela is in chaos: schools and businesses are closed, water and petrol pumps have failed, communications, cashpoints and card-readers are down and most transport has ground to a halt. Food is running out, and patients are dying in hospitals.
The only refuges are a few upscale hotels and restaurants like El Alazan, those that have their own generators - though these too are beginning to fail.
For now, they are the preserve of the well-heeled few: a meal at El Alazan costs several times the minimum monthly wage of 18,000 bolivars, the Caracas hotels now at full occupancy still more. Meanwhile many of these businesses, as well as the handful of open shops, are only accepting US banknotes - unobtainable for most Venezuelans.
Juan acknowledges he belongs to a privileged class - a businessman with access to dollars and friends in high places.
Despite years of economic collapse, it is still possible for the rich to live well in Venezuela. "But it is not like this for most people," he says. The city's nightlife has hollowed out, those who can afford such luxuries are either "with the government or involved in the drug trade," he explains. "People who work, their salaries don't stretch to anything."
Now, the blackout is pushing Venezuela over the precipice, Juan says, with most fighting to simply survive. "I think there will be war," he adds.
Tuesday night marked five days since the lights went out in the oil-rich South American nation. While some pockets have seen it return for brief periods, most of the country remains in darkness and despair is setting in.
Looting has broken out in many areas while protests are only repressed by fierce security forces and armed groups known as colectivos.
Daniel Betancourt, a 33-year-old driver who lives in the impoverished Caracas barrio of Catia, spoke of fear and desperation as food and water ran out. Unrest was simmering, he said. "It was a very Chavista area but not now. People have had enough."
He queued for four hours on Monday to fill up containers from a lone tap with drinkable water; elsewhere, people have turned to streams and even contaminated channels. He was dismayed by shopkeepers demanding American currency, he told The Telegraph. "Most people can't do that. I think they are doing it to grab dollars."
Already struggling hospitals have been further battered by the blackout, with back-up generators and critical equipment failing. Julio Castro, of the NGO Doctors for Health, reported that as of Monday night at least 21 patients had died under the outage.
At the J.M. de los Rios Children's Hospital in Caracas, its doors locked and guarded, women and children have been seen shouting from the windows that they had no food or water.
The opposition-controlled National Assembly, led by Juan Guaidó - recognised as Venezuela's interim leader by more than 50 countries - on Monday declared a state of "national alarm" over the blackout.
Guaidó, like most, blames the failure on poor maintenance and corruption, and says it can only be resolved upon the departure of the Maduro government. No one knows when the outage might end - experts have suggested that while the initial cause may have been a forest fire which overheated lines.
Nicolas Maduro insists the blackout has been inflicted by "imperialist" sabotage as part of an "electric war". On Monday night he claimed a "demonic plot" by Donald Trump to tip the country into mayhem and justify military action. It was the time for "collective resistance", he urged.
Guaidó called further demonstrations on Monday, saying that the "end of the usurpation" would depend on mass mobilisation in the streets. But protesters are divided on whether that will be enough, as they are on the likelihood - or wisdom - of outside intervention.
Maria Angel Ynojosa, a 20-year-old student from the Las Acasias district, said that at least some kind of international assistance was necessary. "People are dying," she told The Telegraph. "We hope that they give this help that we need, that we really need."