Venues and events

Old man goes on bar crawl

So I went out on a bar crawl last week.

Sure, that might not sound like a big deal to you young hipsters who are out every night of the week and rock up to work the next morning showing no ill effects of the night before (trust me kiddies, that seeming invincibility when it comes to alcohol will soon end).

But this was a big deal for me – when you’re married with a kid (and also have adopted ‘‘can’t be arsed’’ as a motto for life) you tend not to get out as much as you used to. So when Scotty from Rocks Brewing asked if I wanted to tag along with a few of his mates and do a bar crawl of some new venues that had opened up in Wollongong, I said ‘‘yeah, sure’’.

The first stop was The Little Prince. Sure, it’s not one of the new bars that have opened recently but it has led the way in terms of the small bar scene in Wollongong. It’s shown, firstly, that such a thing is even possible and, secondly, that there is a market for it.
I like The Little Prince. That might have something to do with the fact that I’m usually there on a Friday afternoon, sneaking in a quick beer before the bus comes. When it’s not crowded, in other words.

His Boy Elroy is one of a number of small bars springing up in Wollongong.

His Boy Elroy is one of a number of small bars springing up in Wollongong.

If there’s a lot of people there, you can guarantee at least some of them are ordering a table full of cocktails. And at least one of those people will be at the bar ahead of you, making you wait to order one of the craft beers they have on tap (in moments like these I sort of feel like saying, ‘‘can I go first. Because I just want a beer and not some stupid frigging cocktail that will take a week to make’’. But I don’t. Because I’m not a dick. Well, not that much of one anyway).

I also like the place because, for a while there it was the only place in town offering craft beer on tap from places other that Wollongong (the Illawarra Brewery has surpassed them, with their swinging taps, but I still like to dip my lid to those who did it first).

We had two beers here – a Hoegaarden I bought and guzzled because I was late and needed to catch up and then a White Rabbit dark ale.

And so we moved next door to one of the new bars, His Boy Elroy. I’d like to say it’s named for the line in The Jetsons theme song but, given the fact staff are dressed to look ‘‘Prohibition era’’, I doubt that’s the case.

Anyway, Elroy is a cool place – even for a 42-year-old like me. If you’re old you’ll know there are places that scream ‘‘get out, old man!’’. This wasn’t one of them. They also had sweet food. While the burger I had was only mini-sized it was extremely tasty and the chicken wings went down well too.

As for the beer, I think they’re getting better. While they had Monteith’s on tap (who cares which one, they’re all ordinary) they were expecting a keg or two from Young Henry’s, so it shows they’re looking further afield than the pseudo-craft stuff. And hopefully they’ll get the cider off the other tape (frigging cider. I’m sick of the stuff).

The next bar we went to was Dagwood – and it was deafening. Partially because it was screaming ‘‘get out, old man!’’ – due to the exceptionally young crowd – but also because of the odd choice of decor. All the walls were covered in white tiles which meant the sound in the place rebounded off the walls. The tiles also made me feel like I was in someone’s bathroom.

As for the beer – it was either Kirin and James Squire 150 Lashes. Neither of which are beers that make me think ‘‘jeez, I must have another one of these’’. So, no, I don’t reckon I’ll be going back to Dagwood in a hurry.

The final destination was the Illawarra Brewery. It’s been open for yonks but, if you want a good beer, you’ll always find one here. This evening they had a recently-discovered keg of their GABS brewed beer – the Saison Rouge which comes in at a million per cent alcohol. Not really, that’s just the way it felt by the time I got to the bottom of my pint (note to self – drinking pints of high-alcohol beer is rather foolish).

I think there was another beer after that, but I’m not entirely sure. Then we all caught a cab home and there were promises that the crawl would become a regular thing.

Which totally works for me, guys.

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