The local drinking culture in Sydney has been transforming of late, due in part to the host of small bars opening throughout the city, but more importantly because of the reinvention of a host of old man pubs that are putting the fun back into drinking.
The likes of The Flinders, The Norfolk and The Abercrombie have all had a makeover at the hands of Michael Delaney-Korabelnikova. Taking an approach that is a bare notch above a dive bar, Delaney-Korabelnikova adds of good food and a focus on ensuring that you have some good old-fashioned fun on the tiles.
So it’s with open arms that Melbourne welcomes his new venue, The Bottom End, to town this week. Between himself and business partner Anthony ‘Hockers’ Hocking, they’ve had their hands in some of the town’s more iconic goodtime venues; Honky Tonks, Third Class and Sorry Grandma all fill out Delaney’s CV.
The Bottom End itself is little short of a genius reinterpretation of a rubbish Irish pub that had no discernible point of difference. Cleverly adorned with a mixture of antique styles, ranging from olde English pub to RSL gaming floor (think retro carpet tile flooring), the centrepiece is a statuette of topless maidens – undoubtedly stolen from a 1970s Australiana time capsule – reinforces the sense of humour that has been used to compile this assortment of treasure.
It’s huge interior is space enough to make it into what the owners claim is a hybrid between pub, disco and diner. All the elements come together to make this combination not only realistic, but formidable.
Americana is this season’s Mexican and The Bottom End is riding the wave. Tasty burgers on brioche are well above standard ($16), but it’s the Philly Cheese Steak and Po Boy stacked on white hero rolls that are the Americana standouts ($16). Mac and Cheese Balls and the Israeli Hummus are the ideal stomach lining snacks ($10) if you’re settling in for the long haul.
The drinks offering is true to the venue’s pub origins, but its Irish roots have been abandoned, with not a pint of Guinness in sight. Take your pick from the house cleanskin wines labelled 'cheap', 'reasonable' and 'good'. There’s also vintage Cristal if you’re in the mood to spend your grandma’s inheritance in an altogether inappropriate setting. The cocktail list runs from mundane to madness (Delany’s signature ‘Jungle Juice’ is on hand). Well-prepared martini’s top the list of available drinks, or if you’re in an obscure mood, try an ‘Australian Martini’ with vodka, Cointreau, Vegemite, Coon cheese and pickled onions. But if you want to live life as a wayward Spanish youth, get into the Kalimotxo, the tasty rocket fuel blend of red wine and cola ($9.50). If need be, sit back and enjoy the parochial mainstays and well-trodden import beers in bottles or in schooners from the tap.
Considering the pedigree of the owners, it’s a sure bet that the tunes will be on form. Regardless of whether it’s four in the afternoon or four in the morning, that gentle urge will be calling you to bust a move on the carpet tile dance floor.
And if the aforementioned Sydney bars are anything to go by, this may well be the first of many ventures that remind people what going out and having fun is all about.
The Bottom End
579 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Fri to Sat 4pm–5am