aving sold up Alphabet City Cafe in Northcote in 2000, Robert Price and his wife Helen ventured off to live in Italy to make a fist of things. They returned to Australia in the space of six months due to actor/musician Robert’s creative demand.
Robert is the long-running actor in the lucrative Australian XXXX Gold Lager commercials and vocalist for ‘80s band Rattling Sabres, featuring Australian roots legend Kerryn Tolhurst [The Dingoes]. Interestingly, US Grammy Winner Pat Benatar covered their 1987 tune All Fired Up!
With an itch to return to the hospitality scene, the Prices stumbled upon the space that now houses The Raccoon Club simply by chance. “We took the dog for a walk and had a rest, so I leaned up against the fence, noticed the land was available and it went from there,” smiles Helen.
And the modus operandi for The Raccoon Club? “We want it to be a local for the residents [primarily] and don’t really want to attract people coming in and banging down shots and doing all that sort of stuff,” explains Robert.
“Raccoon will be an adult sort of atmosphere and comfortable and loungey but not retro, with an emphasis on a low carbon footprint by specialising in Victorian craft beer and wine,” he continues.
Kelly Brothers Cider (Yarra Valley), Kooinda Pale Ale (West Heidelberg), Thunder Road Lager (Brunswick] and Hawthorn Pale Ale (Hawthorn) are all on tap. While by the bottle, 3 Ravens (Thornbury), White Rabbit (Healesville) and all the usual Australian beers are available too.
Tap beer continuously rotates in variety to capitalise on refreshing new beverages from local brewing operations. Wines are from King and Yarra Valley, Red Hill, Avoca and assorted local regions with a strict Victorian presence on the list.
Raccoon food will consist of antipasto plates and a cheese of the week with the odd homemade baked terrine and tarts surfacing. Meals are also delivered from nearby Indian restaurant, Masala Craft on High Street Thornbury, as well as local pizza dealers.
With free pool games available, punters can spin their own records on a deluxe turntable (Tom Waits, Nico, The Rolling Stones are recommended) as relaxation takes place on the box seating and lounges fashioned by local designer Merinda Garrett.
An outdoor space in the front overlooks the 112 and 86 West Preston tram routes, while retro furniture store Model No. 143 and cafe Boundary Espresso are right next door.
Still providing vocals in another of Kerryn Tolhurst’s band projects, Price has a gig coming up at Thornbury Theatre on Friday, October 14.
The Raccoon Club
145 Plenty Road, Preston
Tue to Wed 5pm–11pm
Thu to Fri 5pm–1am