Philosophy, a Pub Crawl Map, 13 pubs reviewed, with a further 15 suggestions...
Not Drinking in a World of Drinkers
Legal DisclaimerIt is illegal to drink, get over .05 blood alcohol (two or three "standard drinks" worth) and ride a bicycle in Victoria. You can lose your driver's license, plus it is dangerous. In fact, anywhere in Australia it is illegal to be inebriated and in charge of a vehicle of any kind, including roller skates and electric wheelchairs. So this is definitely NOT an article encouraging anyone to break the law. No. This is a guide to pubs on a theoretical route, at which you might have the occasional (7 oz) glass of beer, sensibly interspersed with lemon squashes, and food. In fact, just drink waters at most of them.
So, we’ve got that cleared up, right? Very good then. Let’s go to the pub and see what some of them are like!!
Princes Park Bowls Club
109 Bowen Crescent, Princes Park Carlton
(p.s. Blue Vapours designed their website!!)
The Great Northern Hotel
644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
The rides between the first couple of pubs were long-ish – on safe back street bike lanes, Canning Street being a dream for cyclists. This is because (I suspect) many of what were once pubs in Carlton have been turned into houses. They can be seen on many of the street corners on the ride.
The North Fitzroy Star
32-36 St Georges Road South, Fitzroy North
The Lord Newry Hotel
543 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North
The Rose Hotel
406 Napier St, Fitzroy
289 Wellington St, Collingwood
The Leinster Arms
66 Gold St, Collingwood
Lulie St Tavern
288 Johnston St, Abbotsford
The Yarra Hotel
This really is a great pub, though they’ve moved the band room from the main bar into a back room to control payment for gigs and to allow normal patrons access to the bar. Another rambling beer garden, with an outdoor fireplace, this pub is co-owned by numerous local identities including a singer from Things of Stone and Wood, and I suspect Guy from the Napier may also be an investor. Definitely worth a look.
295 Johnston St, Abbotsford
The Retreat Hotel
226 Nicholson St, Abbotsford
The Park Hotel
191 Nicholson St, Abbotsford
When I first moved to Abbotsford, this was known as “the police informers pub”, because it was notorious for blags to turn up and tip off the coppers over a quiet beer about what was going down in the criminal world, where you’d walk in and a couple of huddled men would stop talking and give you the eyeball before continuing their muttering. Subsequently, it’s been trendied up, with a beer garden, and kangaroo steaks on the menu, and some amiable lezzies working on the bar. Always good, and the kitchen is open later than the Carringbush.
The Carringbush Hotel
226-228 Langridge Street, Abbotsford
The real reason I used to love Abbotsford, this was an old friendly society building that was turned into a pub, named after Frank Hardy’s notorious gangland Catholic soap-a-mentary ‘Power Without Glory’ (Carringbush being a substitute name for Collingwood). They have a little bar stocked with old Collingwood football club memorabilia, a couple of dining rooms, a very nice front bar and are “as-pub as-pub” as a pub could be. Unfortunately, due to a chequered ownership history, it has had mixed fortunes as a venue, though I believe there are bright times ahead.
The Yorkshire Stingo
48 Hoddle St, Abbotsford
I realise there are myriad other pub tours you could take in the suburbs mentioned. Fitzroy is a particularly rich vein of still active pubs, where you could include (in no particular order) the Standard, the Labour In Vain, the Perseverance, the Napier Hotel, Marquis of Lorne, the Robert Burns, Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel, the Rochester, the Union Club, the Grace Darling, the Builders Arms, the Gertrude, the Workers Club, the Fox, etc. etc etc. It never ends, really. But the above list (with these add-ons) should give you a pretty good feel for the inner North/East Melbourne pub culture and why it is that Abbotsford, Collingwood, Fitzroy and North Carlton are killing the suburbs south of the river.
Oh, I feel like a beer!!!