Sunday, November 13, 2011

An evening in some Melbourne bars and beer gardens with Flower.

Friday I met up with Flower, who has recently returned from some overseas adventures, to reacquaint ourselves with Melbourne's beer gardens. We went on a bit of a beer garden hop, crawl, skip, jump.

We started with The Workshop Bar which is next to a discounted book store (yay! discounted books) on the corner of Elizabeth Street and A'Beckett Street. The entrance is understated, which I have come to expect from the most interesting bars in this city. We were there rather early, just before five, and there were plenty of people enjoying an early drink before the nine til five crowd hit. We both opted for the cheapest cocktail - which at $9 is pretty damn good for Melbourne! I don't remember what it was called, but it was very sweet....not much alcohol, perhaps. The crowd there was quite mixed, all ages and types. Travellers, hipsters, a few business people,  a sweaty student who sat behind me and rubbed his soggy back all over mine. With the exception of sweaty back dude, I really liked this place. I'd love to go there again earlier in the day for one of their cheap pizzas and to watch people from the balcony.

The next place we went to was Match Bar and Grill. From down on Swanston Street, next to the state library, the Match balcony looked very appealing. We went in about half five and the business crowd were already there celebrating the end of the work week. Flower and I both had G&Ts which were $8.50 each. A little steep, we thought. We found a place to sit and chat and decided that we both felt a bit out of place in our summery dresses and flats. Match, after 5pm at least, is clearly a popular suit hang out, not a budgeting uni-student-on-holiday place. My first impression of the bar was that it could be a nice place to have a drink in the afternoon but isn't really one of those special Melbourne places which just exude character. Might go there again.

We then went looking for The Emerald Peacock which is on Lonsdale Street, just after Swanston. Despite being packed, this was definitely my favourite for the evening. I had an $8.50 glass of Sangria, which took me back to my days in Spain. The first floor interior is dim and sexy, and just upstairs there is a stylin' balcony/rooftop area which was very crowded. We found ourselves a spot and settled in to enjoy our drinks. The crowd was mostly business slaves, but there were also a few traveller types and older European male model look-alikes. There looked to be nobody under twenty-one, which is something I am increasingly beginning to appreciate in bars. I will definitely go there again, perhaps not on a Friday evening though - way too cramped in the beer garden.

Looking for something to eat we went downstairs to E:fifty five on Elizabeth Street between Flinders and Collins. Not a beer garden, it's underground! This bar is also an internet cafe. The customers are a real mixed bag but it's definitely not popular with the business crowd. All the better for us (not that I don't appreciate a hot man in a suit). The last time I was there the place was full of stoned young men and travellers, this time there was a bunch of tradies drinking copious amounts of cider, dreadlocked men who are probably musicians or tattoo artists (way to generalise, T) and a few well-dressed young couples who looked a bit out of place. E55 has a funny smell. It's a mix of musty and sweaty. You get use to it though, and it's not enough to put me off going back there, in fact, it's part of the underground laid-back charm. The toilets are pretty horrid, but since I enjoy the tatty couches and the reasonably priced food and drink I can't really demand a fancy bathroom.

Our final stop for the night (after a short Myer drunken shoe shopping interlude) was somewhere I have been to a few times and always forget which street it is on - New Guernica. It's on Little Collins, by the way. You could walk into New Guernica on a sunny evening and suddenly forget about the bright weather outside. There is no natural light at all. It doesn't actually have an outside beer garden, but the entire place is themed somewhat like a garden. The interior of New Guernica is great, a log cabin, gazebos (I can't believe that's actually how you spell gazebos), fairy lights, and spinning wicker chairs. It's such a novelty and I love taking people there for the first time. They had a Friday evening drinks special on until 10.30pm - 2 for 1 spirits and $15 jugs of Sangria. We got both!

All and all it was a very fun evening and the company was pretty good too! I can't wait to discover/re-discover more places in my city this summer. Just have to keep putting money into my cocktail budget. I wish I could include some better photos, but my camera is a bit shit to be honest. Here are some blurry shots of New Guernica, which I suppose are accurate representations of how I felt after an entire jug of Sangria.


  1. really appreciate this. especially now that i am of age and can go do this bar hopping thing.

  2. oh em gee, what? You're of age? It seems like yesterday I just started reading your blog and was amazed that it was written by a fifteen year old. Time goes by so quickly!