The Lame Duck

Stepping off Gertrude Street into The Lame Duck is like a entering a vintage fever dream. After walking through the reflective gold front door, up the stairs and past cardboard Cher at the DJ booth, you’ll find ’70s wooden wall panelling, hot-pink zebra-striped doors and giant glowing lightning bolts. The bar feels like an alternate universe in which the disco kids and the hair-metal rockers decided to stop fighting and party together. And it’s got a late 4am licence.

There’s a purple-topped pool table and Playboy pinball machine featuring groan-and-moan sound effects. But among all the ephemera the focal point is the original Big Mouth Billy Bass. The singing fish is the genuine article from 1999.

Music is a big part of The Lame Duck experience – it would be hard to pull off the kitsch decor without a great soundtrack. Expect funk and soul on Friday and yacht rock on Saturday. At all other times, be prepared for impromptu group singalongs to Phil Collins’s In the Air Tonight. On Sundays, there are $10 margaritas all day, if you're game enough to punch through your hangover.

Other cocktails popularised in the ’70s and ’80s have been updated. The Do You Like Pina-rita is a hybrid Pina Colada-Margarita with coconut tequila, coconut cream and pineapple juice. The bar’s signature cocktail, the Lame Fluffy Duck, drops advocaat (an egg and brandy liqueur) from the original recipe to combine gin, Aperol, egg white and lemon.

There’s a small bar-snack menu. Get a four-cheese toastie with crisps (vegan-cheese options available too), or there’s a cheese-fondue twist – a whole wheel of baked camembert served with crusty bread and crudites.

Updated: August 8th, 2019

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