‘We’ll play it by beer’: A North Fitzroy pub crawl
A pair of good time Charlies try a pint (or seven) at some of North Fitzroy's finest
By Charlie Gill
When one finds oneself in North Fitzroy and one craves a pint of one’s favourite beer, one finds that one beer turns quickly into two. We are spoilt for choice; our suburb is bejeweled with pubs – so what differentiates them? We sent our editor-in-chief Charlie, along with his friend Charles, to have a pint or two at six different pubs and note their observations.
A pint of Prancing Pony Hopwork Orange at The Royal Oak (A.K.A Dr Freeman)
We are beginning our night at The Royal Oak on the corner of Nicholson and Freeman – and despite the fact that not a drop of alcohol has yet graced our lips – feel disconcerted. Where are we? While we were never regulars, The Royal Oak was known to be something of an old-fashioned pub, even if the TAB was removed a couple of years back. But there’s no Carlton Draught on offer, and I’m drinking an APA whose name references a 1970s film.
We are having a cinematic moment – I realise from spying a flyer on our table that we aren’t at The Royal Oak. We’re at Dr Freeman. The owners decided the venue needed a tonal shift and a name change. I can’t say for certain what’s new and what’s old – but the exposed wiring, flowery wall-paper, low-hanging fans, taxidermied birds, candles and jazzy, ambient music tells us this place is undergoing a transformation. As Octavian became Augustus, the Royal Oak has become Dr Freeman.
An upside down row-boat hangs over the top of a blue felt pool table, and dangling from that is a low-hanging lamp straight out of an interrogation room (when you play pool at the pub against your mates, questions are being asked of you.) We’d love to stay and have a game, but we just finished our second pint and have more pubs to get to.
A pint of Bonza Australian Ale at The Tramway Hotel
Certainly, the consumption of a small amount of alcohol can render said consumer disinhibited. Their thoughts become unfettered; they bask in their own intellectual liberation. Indeed, some may say this eradication of insecurity lends itself to a pretentiousness; perhaps even a self-seriousness and an erroneous belief in one’s own intelligence. I’m sure that sort of thing can happen to other people.
Me and Charles are having a great time. He notes that the beer is bonza both in name and quality. And the pub, at the roundabout on Church Street and Rae Street, is lovely. I am trying to jot down his brilliant thoughts as he speaks: “Look at the clash of colours, a black wall opposite a white wall. The shape of the tables in contrast to the bar...It’s like Picasso. Do you know what I mean, man? It’s Cubism, for real.” So true.
“The Parky - it’s not like you’re having a beer in North Fitzroy, it’s like you’re having a beer with North Fitzroy”.
Two pints of Coopers Pale Ale at the Lord Newry Hotel
We’re at the Lord Newry and the ground feels unstable under my feet...am I really this much of a lightweight? No! It’s not the beer, it’s the pub! The Newry’s exterior is painted deep sea green and it’s interior is chockablock with painting
s of ships, such as the Wappen Von Hamburg (1669 - 1683). Charles just ordered a pint and said “arrr me hearty it’s time to party!” I laughed. I look into my glass and see a naval battle occurring on the surface of my pale ale. The bartender just told us they’re closing up now, so I said “shouldn’t you be asking us to walk the plank?” He did not find that funny.
A pint of Brooklyn Lager at the Parkview Hotel
We are at the Paarrrkkkkyyyy. We bumped into some friends Guys what do you love about this place? “It’s not like you’re having a beer in North Fitzroy, it’s like you’re having a beer with North Fitzroy” That’s brilliant thats definitely going in the article who said that? I need to credit you! “And what do you think about the bull terrier’s castration A siberian train station The cafateria’s degustation Anterior decarbonisation No no No the interior decoration? What do you think of the interior decoration? It’s nice. Velvet. Wood floors. Potentially bulletproof windows, but I didnt ask the bartender so I can’t say for sure
A pint of Stomping Ground Kiwi Smash Sour at the Fitzroy Pinnacle
“The Pinnacle is like the parky’s youngr brother The Parky did a business degree at LaTrobe, was gonna play AFL if he ddnt injure his knee in 2014 but the pinnacle is doing arts moved straight into a sharehouse goes to doofs” do you thiink thats good should i put it in? Or not? Charls answer me...Are you even lsiteningi to me? Should we
“ALL OF YOU CAN CRASH HERE just leve by 12”
A pint of Prancing Pony Hopwork Orange, Bonza Australian Ale, Coopers Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager and Two Birds Juicy Pale Ale making its way out of me via my mouth
Blaarrgghh...uhh..blargh..wait..ALL OF YOU CAN CRASH HERE just leve by 12 Mum is hacving a lunch tomorrow...actually you know what YOOURE ALL INVITED..youre all iniviited...oh my god...im never donig tis againi...Maybe i should call Josie..ii wonder what shes doing right now...i miss her...oh...this definitely cant go in the article