The Shady Lady
The inside of 36 Johnston Street is dimly lit with a worn concrete floor, a dark teal paint job and wood paneled walls. Tasseled lampshades glow over a long bar lined with stools. It’s a classic Fitzroy bar that feels familiar and lived in.
The three owners (MandyJo Reinier and sisters Rosie and Georgina Maughan) wanted the bar to feel welcoming. Before opening in 2018, they made a conscious decision to defy the trends of white tiles, Nordic design or soft pastel colours, with something far from minimalist. The result is like a cool grandma’s house.
A few of the knick knacks around the bar did in fact come from the Maughans’ grandma’s house, while their aunt drove down from the Queensland border to help with the leather-upholstered bar and drapery. If you look closely you’ll see the tasseled lampshades are wooden salad bowls with the tassels hot glue-gunned on.
While the team has spent time working in bars with much longer cocktail and beer lists (Maughan at Le Bon Ton, and Reinier at the Rochester Hotel), they wanted the drinks to be simple and approachable. That means icy mojitos, margaritas and daiquiris for summer. There are also tins of beer and cider from Colonial Brewing and Bodriggy and Napoleone Cider are on tap.
There are outlets for charging your phone, and the bar is also dog friendly.