Like takeaway, it seems Monday isn’t the best night for drinking, and our little quest to explore the bars and pubs of Lygon Street, Brunswick East, initially looked as though it might be a failure as the first two bars we reached turned out to be closed. Bar Idda and The Alderman stood darkened and inaccessible, neighbours united against our desire to drink, and I’ll admit that I considered giving up and going over to Fitzroy instead. Fortunately, we persevered, because just down the road…
THE LUXOR BAR
Is this jazz?
Something in the window of The Luxor Bar gave us the idea that it was a jazz bar. It might have been a sign, it might have been a poster; I might be a better writer if I was more observant and had a better memory. Is it a jazz bar? I don’t know. I don’t know much (anything) about jazz so I can’t tell you if the band that jumped up and started playing as soon as we walked in falls into the category or not. I can tell you that The Luxor, with its eclectic décor and fireplace, is a cosy place to have a few drinks on a cold Monday night.
Large and spacious, the front room of The Luxor features mismatched furniture that combines a Mediterranean feel with a touch of the Old West. Above the comfy armchairs by the fireplace is an arrangement of photographs for sale, while a wall of the back room offers patrons paintings to buy. The back room itself is sparsely furnished, leaving plenty of room for anyone wanting to utilise the pool table. Players can recline on one of the two daybeds while they await their turn – particularly advantageous for those who play as well as I do!
Next down the road was The Alehouse, which is closed on a Monday night, so if you’re desperate to sample a range of ales on the worst day of the work week, avoid disappointment and find somewhere else. If you’d just be happy with some craft beers, however, continue down the road a little, until you come to…
Writers’ club anyone?
If you like your bars modern and chic, then Eydie’s isn’t for you. Also, you’re probably lost. This is Brunswick and Eydie’s is exactly the type of bar that Brunswick does best. From the vinyl records behind the bar to the sink set in an old sewing machine in the ladies bathroom, Eydie’s looks as though someone has decluttered an antique shop and started serving drinks in it.
It is the kind of place where you’d feel comfortable drinking alone, sipping a craft beer or glass of wine while armed with a book or something to write the next literary masterpiece on – a laptop would do, but an old typewriter would be a better fit. It also has spaces that can be booked that would be perfect for meetings for small groups; book clubs and writers’ groups come most immediately to mind.
Step out the back and you’ll find that Eydie’s also has a heated, mostly-covered courtyard that is cosy enough to make you feel as though you’re drinking in a friend’s backyard. Especially if you take the time to have a chat with the proud owner, who you’ll likely find behind the bar.
By now we thought we were pretty lucky to find two places open on a Monday, so we were surprised when right next door to Eydie’s we came upon…
Mavis’s on a Monday
For chicks who cut their rock teeth on 90s alternative, stumbling into a bar that’s pumping out The Mavis’s is pretty damn exciting. I could try to claim that the follow up tracks from the Hoodoo Gurus and Hunters and Collectors were less so, but my singing along would probably prove me wrong.
Despite the Aussie tunes, sitting in The B.east reminded me strongly of a bar I used to frequent in small town Massachusetts, USA, during my much-despised time as a camp counsellor. The menu is reminiscent of an American diner, and for anyone who’s been to Misty’s Diner in either Prahran or Reservoir (side note: Misty’s is closed on a Monday in Reservoir – Mondays really are just the worst!) the burger challenge will be a familiar concept.
The music is loud and I am definitely celebrating my birthday there. Missed opportunity on the menu (Rocktails! – B.east – you can absolutely use it) on the cocktails named after rock stars, but as far as food was concerned we were definitely tempted!
By this time it was getting late and we knew that The Quarry was open across the road, so we decided that would be our last pub of the night…
Your basic local…minus the gambling.
While I don’t have an issue with gambling per se, I’m not a gambler myself, and I do have a romanticised notion of your local pub being the place where you have a chat with the bartender and not the place where you have your favourite machine. This is exactly what you can expect from The Quarry. With absolutely no frills, The Quarry is your basic sports-on-the-telly-couple-of-pool-tables-separate-bistro-for-meals local pub. With no pokies or even Keno, the signs out the front make it clear that Fox Sports is THE drawcard, and a number of televisions are tuned to different channels, each one showing sports. To top it all off, The Quarry offers takeaways, so when it’s time for them to close up you can grab a couple of six packs to take home and continue along on your merry way.
All in all our Monday night drinks didn’t turn out to be quite the snore fest we had originally anticipated. So if you’re a shift worker or you just want to escape your own four walls on a Monday night, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes on Lygon Street in Brunswick East.
words: Claire Watt
photos: Mandy Campbell