Locals: Gertrudes, Lambs Go Bar, The Vic

Well, The Age bar reviewers have been hard at work, recently reviewing:

  • Gertrudes at the Exhibition Gardens end of Gertrude St in Fitzroy (pushing the boundaries of this little blog’s sphere of interest, it has to be said), owned by an astrophysicist and with lawyers pulling beer (apparently);
  • The Vic, on the corner of Park St and Victoria St (I endorse the sentiments of the reviewer and was fascinated and delighted to learn that you can have Victoria St Vietnamese delivered there); and
  • Lambs Go Bar, a bluestone building in Greeves St, just off Smith St, boasting 100 beers at any one time and has an amusing website. The first Tuesday of every month is “Wheel of Beer” where $5 buys you a spin of the wheel and a random beer from their selection.

All places where you have a good chance of avoiding glitterati, if that’s your thing, as it is often mine. The photo is of Portland’s Jeff Wallen‘s grandfather’s beer collection.

I went for a drive to Jeparit

It is true that this post has nothing to do with Abbotsford, except that while I was sitting in Horsham’s Cafe Bagdad a suspected Canadian climber was extolling the virtues of our suburb to his mate, but I went for a drive to Jeparit via Nhill, Dimboola, Mt Arapiles and Horsham. Sadly, our energy flagged before we got to Antwerp or Rainbow. The idea was to get beyond the trappings of suburbia which in my book ends around Avoca and into the “real country” which I was sure was out there, back in the comforting world of plump bakery girls making up white bread salad sandwiches and willingly buttering your coffee scroll, with butter (tick), monuments to the Great War (tick), corellas (tick), proper gum trees (tick), quaint botanical gardens (tick), characterful country pubs with genial cockies propping up the bar (see below) serving up pots of Carlton Draught for $1.65 (nope, $3) and, most importantly in this crazy world of $100 a night motel rooms, charming simple clean upstairs accommodation for $35 a night (see below). The photos of many details of countrytownness are here. Continue reading “I went for a drive to Jeparit”

Another murder [update: and a workplace death]

According to News.com.au:

A MAN has been charged with murder after another man was repeatedly stabbed at a Melbourne karaoke bar.A 54-year-old man, from suburban St Kilda, died after he was stabbed three times in the back at the bar in Church Street, Abbotsford, during an argument about midnight last night.He was taken to the Alfred hospital in a critical condition but died this morning.

A Victoria Police spokesman said a 33-year-old man, from Ivanhoe, had been charged with one count of murder.

He has been remanded in custody to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ court tomorrow.

We seem to have more than our share of murders and their attempts in Abbotsford and surrounds. There was the Smith St Collingwood murder over the yellow racer last year in which two Nicholson St men were charged, the 2004 severing of a man’s spinal cord again associated with a Victoria St karaoke club, and the attempt to bash two men’s heads in with a hammer by a bondage and discipline afficionado the same year. Update: Meanwhile, on April 13, a man was crushed to death at his workplace in Abbotsford [further update: the CUB plant].  Further further update:

“The week’s third victim, a 58-year-old man from Wantirna, was crushed by a machine at Carlton and United Beverages’ factory in suburban Abbotsford.

He died in hospital also on Thursday, after he was found by co-workers caught between a door on the machine and a handrail on April 13.”

Continue reading “Another murder [update: and a workplace death]”

A day of unhealthy eating on Johnston St: Bomb, Ilk Bar, Kooshi

Yesterday my curiosity about this place prompted me to detour from my otherwise rigidly fixed route to work on my bike, in my suit. It doesn’t exactly leap out at you when driving past as the missing breakfastry of Abbotsford, and even after peering through this window last Sunday when it was closed, its true nature did not reveal itself, but Bomb Cafe & Bar, as I have discovered it is known (229 Johnston St, not far from the corner of Hoddle St, 9486 0699) is a great spot. Like so many long thin places on Johnston St, a small front section gives onto a middle room and then a magnificent back yard graced by a large peppercorn tree. The hot breakfast menu looked promising, the people behind the coffee machines engaging, but I had a pastry with custard and raspberries with my coffee. Steak, red wine, and salad followed by cheese and walnuts at Vue de Monde didn’t really help at lunch. Continue reading “A day of unhealthy eating on Johnston St: Bomb, Ilk Bar, Kooshi”

Park Hotel’s Third Birthday: 1 April 2006

Now I do like a bit of Chinoiserie moderne, and it’s a la mode right now in newly degrunged pubs and quirky Japanese cafes alike. The Park Hotel is a truly excellent pub in Abbotsford, which manages to be grungy and degrunged at once, down Nicholson St a bit from the Retreat Hotel on the other side at no. 191 (9419 4352). It has copies of Truth lying around (and I thought defamation writs had shut it down, but it seemed to have morphed even more into a racing tabloid), itself more kitsch interior decor than true fodder for the regs probably but then I’m not sure about that, and a good beer garden, with a pool table. Its kitchen serves up tasty tucker and its prices are reasonable. One time, its taps had broken down and they were selling stubbies for the price of pots. That was a good day. Its present incarnation’s having its third birthday on April Fool’s Day, and, unless they’re joshing, there’s going to be fillums ‘n all. [I can’t find any evidence on the internet of The Truth being extant, but that doesn’t mean anything. I did find this interview of a former editor though, in which the rag is described as something read by folk who won their money on the racing pages and spent it on the brothel pages, and in which it is recounted that a Mr Justice Innes described it in the 1890s as “a wretched little paper reeking of filth”. I also learnt that it broke some serious stories, including what happened at Maralinga with the A bomb blasts. Those were the days, when it would sell 400,000 copies a day.]

All the Pubs and Bars and some of the beers of Abbotsford

Here’s a useful starting point for an exploration of Abbotsford’s pubs and bars.

Unless my Google search skills aren’t up to it, though, Abbotsford doesn’t have any happy hours featured at The Happiest Hour.com which an acquaintance of mine claims to run, or to have invented, or something.

When in Abbotsford, do as the Abbotsrigines do and drink Abbotsford Invalid Stout, or Abbots Lager, or Abbotsford Sparkling (or any other CUB product of course), or a Mountain Goat beer, though that’s pretty weird, and actually from next-door Richmond.  Beer critic Willie Simpson says of the Sparkling:

“Abbotsford Sparkling Ale is another heavyweight contender (8.5 per cent A/V), which CUB created to celebrate a century of brewing at Abbotsford. Unfortunately, this rich, malty ‘barley wine’ won’t be released commercially, but it does prove the big boys can make serious specialty beers.”

The photo, by a Norwegian living in Malaysia who was in the Galapagos Islands at the time is from Aliasgrace’s wonderful collection of images at Flickr.