The Lansdowne Hotel
The Lansdowne was reborn in June 2017 when new owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (Mary’s and The Unicorn) reopened the iconic two-storey pub and restored its status as an iconic live music venue. Under their stewardship, there's a show on nearly every night, and most of them are free.
Artist Jess Cochrane had a big hand in the venue’s new look. For example, the intricate bathroom ceiling (“The Pistine Chapel”) covered in cut up and painted over pictures from vintage Playboy magazines. Distorted clippings of lips, eyes, cigarette cartons and old-world ad slogans are layered over blown-out posters, which have then been coated with thick, provocative stripes of paint.
This aesthetic pervades the whole venue – even the food, which Smyth describes as “trash” food, aka a mash-up of highbrow and lowbrow elements.
A Detroit-style square pepperoni pizza, for example, features dough that's been “autolysed”, where just flour and water is combined without yeast or salt, and left to rest for 30 minutes before being fermented for an additional 30 hours. This gives it a hardy, sourdough-loaf-like crust on the bottom. It’s a two-day process just to make the tomato sauce, and a lot of thought has been put into the cheese – a harmonious trio of fior di latte, low-moisture mozzarella cheese (to preserve the sturdiness of the pizza’s middle) and “shit mozzarella” with a high fat content that crisps and burns at the edges. And then there’s the "crap" pepperoni, which the kitchen adds heaps of.
Be prepared to swear like a pirate when placing your order. A ham and pineapple slice is christened as the “Tropical Fucker”, and a mixed mushroom topping is the “Mushroom Fucker”. To avoid a lawsuit, a familiar-sounding double-decker burger with two beef patties, pickles, lettuce, cheese, special sauce on a sesame seed bun has been dubbed “The Big Fucker”.
The wine list features only Australian wines. There’s Budweiser and a good mix of Aussie beers and simple, fun cocktails.