I realised that I haven’t done a good old fashioned pub crawl in a very, very long time. Okay, maybe I should be writing about the one I did in London where I attempted to visit every street on the Monopoly Board, and have a drink at a pub there. Well, the problem is that there are some streets, such as Vine Street (which happens to be a back alleyway) that don’t have pubs on them, so the rule is that you visit a pub as near as possible to the said street.
Anyway, this is not what I will be writing about today, unfortunately, but I still have it on my list of things to do, especially since that was one of the reasons why I went to London in the first place. However, I am just going back to good old Melbourne, and taking you all on a trip to some of my favourite pubs in Abbotsford, which happens to be one of the inner city suburbs.
Before I continue, I should have to say that I do encourage the responsible consumption of alcohol, but the reality is that we don’t go on pub crawls just to drink coke. Well, maybe, maybe not. My friend only drinks coke, or water, and my brother only drinks pineapple juice, or water. In a way I guess it is probably a good thing to have somebody about that is somewhat compos mentis, though I have to admit that I’m not really one who is all that much keen on getting incredibly sloshed, especially since these days with the craft beer revolution, beer has become a lot more drinkable than it used to be.
So, now that I have got my community announcement out of the way, and reminded you that this trip is not about getting hammered, but about enjoying some of the fine pubs that Melbourne has to offer, we can start with talking about something that is decidedly non-alcoholic – food.
There is a thing about Victoria Street, and that is the restaurants – there are just so many of them. In fact there are so many along this stretch of road I sort of wonder if it would be at all possible to visit every single one of them, especially since I don’t actually live in the area. However, one of the great things about this place is that I can always jump off the train, go for a walk, and soon enough I will find a restaurant than I have never visited.
The thing with these restaurants is that they are all Asian, mostly Vietnamese Pho Bars, but you also get your fair share or Chinese and Thai restaurants as well, with some Korean thrown in for good measure. Mind you, if you aren’t keen on Asian food, there does happen to be a Fish & Chip shop, and a burger joint, as well as the pubs and bars. However, going to Victoria Street and not having Asian is sort of like going to Phuket and not, well, going for a swim.
Oh, there are some other things about Victoria Street that you may need to know, and that is the junkies, however they don’t seem to really cause too much trouble, at least from what I’ve seen and heard. They did have a habit of passing out, well, where ever they felt like, but the government has since opened up a safe injecting room so you don’t really have to worry about that anymore. Mind you, they are still pretty noticeable.
Now that you have had something to eat (I hope), we can visit the pubs, though here is the route that we will be taking.
Oh, and before I forget, here is a map so that you can actually see where the pubs are:
This is not to be confused with the pub with the same name that happens to be in Clifton Hill, and is a huge craft beer bar. No, this one is completely different. Well, it is basically your typical inner city pub – it has charm, atmosphere, and four bars. Sure, there is a bistro, but once again, like a lot of these pubs, the whole place is a bistro, so you can basically order your meal and eat it anywhere, except in the smokers’ cage of course, but the thing with that is that it is tucked away in a small corner of the beer garden.
Now, there is the beer garden, which is awesome. In fact it is on two levels, and has two bars. When I was there, the two outside bars were closed, but that was probably because it wasn’t hugely crowded, so you order you beer at the front (or your food) and go and find some place to sit. We went upstairs in the beer garden, where there was third bar, which was closed, but that wasn’t a problem because there were some really cool booths up here, and it was also pretty quiet as well, so we could sit and talk without being drowned out.
Well, the huge beer garden out the back has now been set aside for people to eat, as opposed for people to smoke, and drink their beer. Sure, if you happen to be a smoker you either have to go out the front, or just go without, and I’d probably recommend going without because the beer garden is much better than sitting out the front of this pub, particularly since the view really isn’t all that great. Sitting at tables out the front may work in Paris, but not on Victoria Street, or at least this part of Victoria Street.
This is a pretty cool pub though, but then again if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have visited it. In fact it was one of the first pubs I visited when I started exploring Melbourne, particularly Victoria Street. The reason for that was because a guy at work said that when he would go for a night on the town, he would go down to Richmond, and this is what I thought Richmond was. Well, that turned out not to be the case, however I did eventually find some pretty cool pubs, which makes it a part of Melbourne that is great to visit.
Look, this one probably isn’t a pub for everybody, but I still think that it has some charm. It really isn’t a particularly big pub, but the do have a good selection of beers on tap, and in my mind, this is what makes a good pub. For beer gardens, well, unfortunately there isn’t one, there is only the smokers cage, and it really isn’t all that great, unless you happen to be a smoker, then it is actually a rather decent one, though not hugely great. Yeah, like a lot of these cages, it isn’t all that comfortable, but at least there are tables and chairs, and benches, where you can sit and chat and while the night away.
As it turns out, the inside is much better, that that is the case with a lot of these pubs. In fact they have some really comfortable seats – a little too comfortable a times though, because they can be a little difficult to get out of. However, as a pub it is pretty cool, and I certainly like it. In fact the tram from Prahran stops here, so I tend to pop in for a drink when I am getting off of it.
One thing that I have noticed with some of these pubs that happen to have smoking areas is that it ends up that all of the people cram into the smoking area, and the non-smoking interior is, well, practically empty. This is the case with this pub, which makes sitting inside pretty cool, unless it happens to be really packed, which is something that happens every so often (usually on a Friday night).
The front area, which is open to the street, is the smoking area, and they also have tables out the front as well. What I think is really cool are the stools at the windows, and the bench where you can rest your beers. This means that you can sit here and people watch, something that I do really enjoy doing. In fact, a pub like this, that allows one to watch the people passing by, is one that is close to perfection.
Yet I can’t forget the interior, because it is really comfortable inside, and of course they also have a DJ. Actually, the DJ was pretty cool, and you are certainly going to get people busting some moves on the dance floor. The other thing, before I forget, is that they also have a couple of video games, which I also think is pretty cool.
Honestly, I seriously don’t know how many times I have been to this pub, probably because it just happens to be across the road from the railway station, and always has some nice beers on tap. Actually, the thing I love about this pub is the front verandah area, where there are some nice comfortable couches, and tables where you can sit. They also have some benches out on the footpath, but the couches looking out onto the street are awesome, and I just love sitting there with a beer and a book, despite the fact that every so often a junkie comes along asking for money.
But there is more to this place than just the verandah because they have a really nice area out the back as well. Actually, that area is a great place to sit and drink, and for some reason, even though it is usually non-smoking, most of the people end up out there anyway. I guess it is because the atmosphere of the place is just so awesome, moreso than the interior of the pub. Oh, and I also love the murals on the walls. This place is perfection.
I was almost going to pass this place by, but at the last minute I decided to pop my head in and check it out. Well, I can say one thing it has certainly changed at lot – an awful lot. First of all the courtyard is now entirely non-smoking, though I’m not really all that sure why because it is not a place where I’m going to be having a meal. In fact, it looks like they have completely done this place up and given in a complete transformation.
The reason I say this is because I approached the bar and discovered that they had wine on tap, something that is becoming more common by the day. I was in part horrified, until the kind man behind the bar pointed out a board that had a list of beers on tap. Well, it turns out that this is now a craft beer bar that has a huge selection of great beers. Honestly, I literally fell over in delight. In fact, I really should update my years old review of this place, not that I really have all that much to do it these days (though I do seem to have enough time to write a blog).
This is another one of my favourite pubs, though it has a lot to do with the beer garden, in which they have decided to ban all smoking. No doubt this is because people actually come out here to eat, and the beer garden is actually a pretty good beer garden as well. However, it is a bit of a hike from the station, not too far, but far enough that I really can’t consider it to be a railway pub. However, they do have some nice beers on tap, but not a huge selection, though they have gotten a little better than what they used to be like.
If I were to say that this is another one of my favourite pubs, you will probably begin to understand not only why I am writing this post, but also why I seem to always be wandering around here. Once again this pub has changed a lot since I first graced its doors. For a while they would have live bands in the front bar, and people would go out to the beer garden if they wanted some peace and quiet, and to have a smoke. However, over time, they ended up enclosing most of the beer garden to turn it into a bistro, with the exception of a small area out the back.
However, I mentioned that they have live music here, and they still do. Okay, I have never actually been to a show, and I do rarely find myself forking out money to see a band, though I really should be doing that a bit more, considering that I do have a thing for live music, and Melbourne certainly has a pretty good live music scene. Yeah, this is something I am going to have to look into when I have some more time on my hands.
This place got its name from the fact that it was located on Lulie Street, but it has since moved, and done itself up considerably. I still remember it being located in a rather tacky warehouse behind the service station, with what could be considered to be a smokers cage out the side. However, as I have mentioned, they have since moved, and are now in a much better location, with a much better feel to it as well.
Okay, their beer selection isn’t all that great, but it really has never been all that great. Though, they have since added a couple of nice ones on tap. I guess the reason for that is that they are trying to be more than just a beer bar, and setting up taps and all that can be hideously expensive as well. The other thing with this place is that they have an area out the front where all the smokers tend to congregate, but other than that, it is still a pretty cool bar.
And now I come to one of the best, though there were a number of pretty awesome pubs along this trek. This place has been around for a while, and it shows no sign of dying out. In fact, when you are waiting at the station, you can hear the tunes beating out from the beer garden, where there also happens to be a bar. The thing with this place is that it is open literally all hours, so you can come here for breakfast, and they do a pretty good breakfast as well, and then you can come here after work for the beers, or whatever else you want.
Oh, yes, there are the beers – they have some pretty good ones on tap, but the bar is more than just a beer bar, it serves all sorts of drinks, and the service is pretty awesome as well. However, it is out the back where everything is happening, and it certainly gets pretty crowded out there, especially when they lift the smoking ban at around 10:00 pm. Yes, this is where the DJ also plays, which is why the tunes can be heard from the station. This place just goes off.
And here I am, at the end of my trek, and it seems as if I have gone way over my limit as well. Okay, I haven’t taken you to every pub in Abbottsford, only the ones that I really like, and make a regular effort to visit once in a while, especially since they all happen to be on train line I take to get home.