Melbourne Nightlife Blog

30 April, 2008

Renovated: The Clarendon

The Clarendon Hotel on Clarendon Street in South Melbourne has been renovated according to the Deck of Secrets team. They say the "stylish renovation has seen the re-launch of this South Melbourne hotel as a chic and upscale bar and eatery." Feel free to have a look at some of the pictures on the pub's official website or read the excellent full review.

New Review: Prince Public Bar

Michael Harden has reviewed The Prince Public Bar on Fitzory Street in St. Kilda for Epicure; "There is something to be said for a bar that has eight beers on tap." Click here to read the full review.

Sticky situation leaves man at a loss

A Queensland man has been victim to a drunken prank by a 26 year-old friend poured superglue into his ear - and required major surgery costing $8,000 to have the glue removed from his ear and restore hearing. The event allegedly occurred when Ryan Liam Upton, also 26, found the man passed out during a party at Greenslopes on Brisbane's southside. Ryan allegedly poured superglue on the man's hand and down his pants as a joke - then he decided to pour superglue in the ear to take the prank further.

Source: The Age

Industry: Tax increase misguided

The ABC is reporting the recent tax increase for ready-to-drink spirit drinks is being heralded as "misguided" by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council. The Council says the move will only encourage teenagers to binge on other types of alcohol.

The ABC Internet comments have received quite a bit of support for the Industry's viewpoint, including Pog who stated; "This will not change a bloody thing and will affect the people who actually like a breezer or Bundy and Coke premix the most." And Kamo came out in support, "Pog's right, this will just encourage kids to scull passion pop or shot cheap bottles of bourbon rather than learn to drink a mix drink or beer at a reasonable pace."

Source: ABC

Cabbies block Swanston and Flinders Street intersection

A group of around 300 Melbourne taxi drivers have blocked trams and road-traffic in the CBD as they closed off the intersection at Flinders and Swanston Streets from 6pm yesterday. The protests are for driver compensation, safety and respect. The catalyst being the violent stabbing of 23 year-old Jalvinder Singh, who is in a serious but stable condition in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The protesting cabbies demands have been listed verbatim by The Age:

"- Compensation for the victim and severe punishment for the criminal.
- Safety Screens should be a part of taxi Road Worthy.
- Taxi should be pre-paid round the clock.
- Special protection should be provided at specific railways stations and suburbs after hours prone to safety issues with people.
- All the complaints by migrants should be seriously adhered to by the Police.
- All the infringements for parking given to taxis during protest should be taken back."

Source: The Age &

27 April, 2008

Pre-mixed drink tax almost doubled

After earlier speculation about an increase in tax for alcopops or pre-mixed drinks, the federal government has today announced it will almost double the tax on those beverages. The excise will rise to $67 a litre of pure alcohol, the same excise as bottled spirits and up from the current $39 a litre - the price of individual beverages is expected to rise by 30 cents to $1.30 depending on alcohol content.

The change is expected to raise an additional $2 billion a year in tax revenue, with the government claiming a "big chunk" will go to preventative health schemes. Mike Daube, president of the Public Health Association, said "this increase will make a real dent in one of our biggest current social problems."

Source: Bloomberg & The Age.

Teenage girls drinking more than the boys

28.3% of teenage girls and 24.5% of teenage boys are putting themselves at risk of short-term alcohol-related harm at least monthly according to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It also found 3.2% of teenage girls drink weekly, compared to only 1% of teenage boys. The study also showed a reduced usage of illicit drugs.

Source: The Age

26 April, 2008

New Review: Precinct

Formerly the Depot, Richmond's Precinct has been reviewed by Clem Bastow for Epicure. "And if the makeover is a little unimaginative in an interior design sense, although retaining the pressed-tin ceiling over the dance floor is a nice touch, what the Precinct lacks in surface decoration, it makes up for in atmosphere." Click here to read the full review.

24 April, 2008

New Review: Bird Brain

Deck of Secrets have just reviewed Bird Brain on Lonsdale Street. "More cafe than bar, Bird Brain retains the same keep-it-simple philosophy as sibling bars St Jeromes and Sister Bella, but without the thrift store fit-out. There's still a few bo-ho touches like hanging beaded curtains with giant red lips but inside gleaming mirrors line the wall along with splashes of red and simple wooden furniture." Read the full review.

New Bar: Locanda Cucina Bar

It appears CBD bar has been replaced by Locanda Cucina Bar in the Rydges Melbourne. Operated by the DiMattina Family (who also run DiMattina's, Il Gambero and Blue Train Cafe in Melbourne), it is billed as a "premier new Italian restaurant and bar" serving both traditional and modern Italian cuisine.

Deck of Secrets reports "The dazzling floor-to-ceiling wine racks give away Locanda's specialty, and the bar serve[s] the extensive list in 150ml, 250ml and 500ml sizes, or opt for the bottle and linger over a grazing plate."

Source: Official website & Deck of Secrets

Sydney's alcohol-related crime doubles in a decade

"Everything is not fine," the NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters in Sydney yesterday. The NSW auditor-general's report found there were 20,475 alcohol-related assaults (ARAs) statewide in the 2006-07 financial year, up from 10,305 ARAs recorded in 1997-98. The commissioner also noted that 15 per cent of the state's licensed outlets were "problem hotels", he denied there was a shortage of police to oversee the hotels but did say a dedicated 30-person "alcohol law enforcement command" was being established.

Source: The Age

Drinking buddies found

After the successful promotion of a job offer to drink beer with his lonely dad, Mike Hammond and his father have managed to find two eligible drinking buddies. The lucky pair are Trevor Pugh, 78, who will take home £7 an hour for his services twice a week and Henry Rosenvinge, 58, who has offered to meet once a week for free.

Mike appears to happy about the situation, saying: "Ideally, he wanted me to take him out seven nights a week, but as much as I love going for a pint with him I can only manage a couple of nights. He'll now be going several times a week - three with his new friends and twice with me."

When asked if his dad was happy, he said: "As people get older, they don't show their emotions as much. He's not showing he's happy, but before he was showing me he was miserable. He's not doing that any more and to me, that's well worth it."

Source: Guardian & Times

Plain-clothed police out in force

Undercover Victoria Police officers have been investigating high risk licensed venues to monitor if they're operating in accordance with the Liquor Control Reform Act. The Herald Sun is reporting that the taskforce trying to combat alcohol-related crime will be at "full strength" this long weekend. Official warnings and penalty notices have already been issued to some venues according to Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe. "Taskforce members have already expressed disappointment with the failure of some venue managers to comply with the conditions of their licenses" he said.

Source: Herald Sun & ABC

22 April, 2008

Were you at Bond Bar on Sunday morning?

Victoria Police are looking for witnesses to a violent brawl which occurred at Bond Bar, Bond Lane on Sunday morning around 2:15am. A man is alleged to have struck down a woman on the dance floor. The same man then smashed a glass bottle over another patron's head, starting a large brawl. Four men were hospitalised and conveyed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. A 21-year-old Warrenwood man remains in hospital awaiting plastic surgery to his face. No charges have been laid at this stage. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Source: Victoria Police, The Age & ABC

More talk on binge drinking

ABC News is reporting this morning that binge drinking will be a key topic of conversation when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins Australia's capital city lord mayors this afternoon. Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, who will lead the discussions, stated "there's no doubt that [binge drinking] is an issue that principally takes place in cities, but this is an issue that we can work together to manage and we welcome the Prime Minister's interest in the issue."

Source: ABC

21 April, 2008

New Review: The Palmz

Clem Bestow reviews The Palmz, atop the Carlton Hotel, with her usual wit for Epicure and it sounds like this open air affair is more than just a quick add-on bar for smokers.

"Palmz makes tropicalia its game and feels more like a poolside cocktail lounge than a 'beer garden'." Click here to read the full review.

Interest groups in charge of alcohol policy

In an opinion piece for The Canberra Times, David Crosbie, chief executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia and a member of the Prime Minister's Australian National Council on Drugs, comments on the difficulties of change in alcohol policies.

"The question I think that should be the centre point of discussion is: why don't we just do what the alcohol policy experts recommend?

The simple answer is that governments of all persuasions have shown themselves to be unwilling or unable to tackle the short-term economic interests of alcohol producers and retailers."

Source: The Canberra Times

The Truth About Binge Drinking (Ten, 7:30pm)

Tonight on channel Ten at 7:30pm we have a british documentary on the effects of binge drinking for a month. Michelle Heaton, a british pop singer, is filmed over a month as she drinks excessively and it detrimentally impacts her health, work and relationships. Sydney Morning Herald review.

19 April, 2008

Pre-mix price rise

The Herald Sun claims to have seen a confidential government report proposing an increase to the price of pre-mixed drinks (also known as alcopops). Believed to be supported by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Health Minister Nicola Roxon, the move would reverse the price reduction that occured under the Howard government with the introduction of the GST in 2000. The move would assist in the government's campaign against youth binge drinking according to doctors and anti-alcohol groups. Australia has the highest per capita consumption of alcopops in the world, double that of the next biggest consumers, Britain and New Zealand - and most of these are being consumed by the demographic under increased scrutiny: young people.

Source: Herald Sun

18 April, 2008

New Bar: Le Bar

Deck of Secrets have discovered a new bar in Melbourne's Crown Casino. The restaurant Bistro Guillaume, by renowned chef Guillaume Brahim, has opened Le Bar. "The sultry decor is a smooth mix of black and silver hues, oversized furniture and one-of-a-kind chandeliers. Indulge in some bistro-style French comfort food at the upstairs restaurant before stopping off for a nightcap, or make Le Bar your destination of choice for cocktails and something to savour from the supper menu." Read the full review or visit the official website and see Le Bar's decadent tapas menu.

17 April, 2008

New Bar: St. Jude's Cellars

Michael Harden has reviewed the new St Jude's Cellars on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy for Epicure. Highlighting it as a nice change from Brunswick Street's typical "vomiting hell" on a Friday night.

"Those seeking an interesting drink far from the madding crowd should find St Jude's just the ticket." Read the full review.

Matt Hurst over at ThreeThousand has reached a similar conclusion, stating it's an improvement over former tenants The Hideout and Bungalow 8.

"Enter St Jude’s Cellars, a big and beautiful establishment that has instantly raised the bar. No longer will Fitzroy foodies have to venture into the city for culinary gratification." Read the full review.

Industry: Drinking guidelines are flawed

Access Economics has today released a report, financed by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council, critical of lower alcohol intake guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The draft guidelines released last October reduced the four drinks a day limit for men to two drinks a day to reduce associated risks with alcohol consumption. There was no change to the existing two standard drinks a day maximum for women, although pregnant and breast-feeding women are now recommended to cut all alcohol intake.

The Access Economics report has condemned the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines as "both flawed and alarmist", relying on data collected in developing countries and ignoring the proven health benefits of moderate alcohol use.

The draft guidelines were partly based on a twelve nation survey of medical emergency room admissions in countries such as Mozambique, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Belarus, South Africa, China and India - which Access Economics claims have significantly higher risks than Australia. The report highlights Australia's serving restrictions, tough drink driving laws, random breath testing and other regulatory controls, policy and infrastructure measures as being superior to the developing countries highlighted.

The report's author, Lynne Pezzullo, said "the proposed new draft guidelines imply the majority of Australian males are at risk due to their current drinking habits."

Professor Robin Room, of Melbourne University's school of population health and a member of the expert committee which assisted in the draft guidelines, said the Access Economics report was flawed. She said the purpose of the guidelines was to set out the risks involved in drinking, and said the two drinks a day guideline was not yet settled.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald 1, 2 & The Australian

16 April, 2008

Are Jagerbombs endangered?

Jagerbombs could soon be extinct at many inner-city Melbourne bars and pubs as venues choose to take the infamous drinks off the menu. Nadia Salemme highlighted in today's Melbourne Leader three Richmond bars that have removed Jagerbombs, and sometimes other drinks, from their offerings.

Public House manager Scott Elvery said they did not serve get-drunk-quick drinks. The pub's banned list included Jagerbombs, Southern Comfort shots and Midori Illusion shakers. Bundaberg Rum, Baccardi and Malibu were also off the menu.

Source: Melbourne Leader

2020 Summit to discuss alcohol violence

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said proposals to tackle the "national contagion" of alcohol abuse will be debated at this weekend's Australia 2020 summit. "It's time as a nation and as a community we decided to turn the corner on this because I think in many parts of the country, most parents would agree, it's getting out of hand."

A recent Roy Morgan telephone poll is also cited within The Age article, showing almost one in five Australians had endured alcohol-related violence or knew a friend or relative who had.

Source: The Age

14 April, 2008

Pokies set free

The Victorian government has removed the duopoly of Tattersall's and Tabcorp from the state's poker machines. Currently Tatersall's and Tabcorp own the machines in various pubs and clubs around the state - this is set to change in 2012 when individual venues will be allowed to procure machines without either Tabcorp or Tattersall's involvement. A further restriction is that no individual operator is to own more than 35% of the machines.

Joshua Gans of adds the following in his blog:
"It is ironic that our social concerns are about people who become addicted to gambling and at the same time, we need to worry about a government who might become addicted to gambling revenue. For that reason, it is critically important that these changes are accompanied by a serious set of policies to deal with problem gambling."

Source: The Age &

11 April, 2008

New Review: Carlton Yacht Club

Clem Bastow, writing for The Age, has shared one of her favourite bars with us. The Carlton Yacht Club is into its fifth year on the busy Lygon Street strip - and it appears the quality hasn't gone.

"Decorated with cluttered ephemera, the bar is lovely and the staff friendly." Read the full review.

09 April, 2008

Climate change could raise the price of beer

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said climate change could see a decline of malting barley production in Australia and New Zealand, resulting in lower supplies and increased prices for beer. Speaking at The Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention in Auckland, he said dry areas of Australia would only get drier and water shortages will get worse. "It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry" he said.

It appears the industry is listening. Russell Peel, environmental consultant for Foster's Group, said water usage in beer brewing has become more efficient over the years, but "water is going to be such [a] global concern that any water wastage is going to be seen as unacceptable," he told the conference.

Source: Coke Pub & Bar, NZ Herald 1 & 2.

Research: Ciggies, Booze and Drugs are bad for Australia

Government-funded research released by Professor David Collins of Macquarie University and Professor Helen Lapsley of the University of New South Wales has attempted to quantify the cost of recreational drug use to the country. Taking into consideration the cost of ill health, premature death, reduced productivity, crime and accidents. Apparently tobacco costs Australia $31.5 billion a year out of the $56 billion a year combined total for cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Source: The Age

08 April, 2008

Bad bars lose hours

Melbourne City Council is considering a plan similar to Sydney's Council - where licensed venues could have their trading hours reduced if they are shown to contribute to alcohol fueled violence or community damage. A similar measure was introduced by Sydney in January of this year, when it was discovered that 12% of inner-city hotels accounted for almost 60% of all assaults on hotel premises. The plan is said to have received a positive response from Liquor Licensing Victoria and Police, and has also been tentatively supported by the Australian Hotel Association (AHA).

A council submission of the plans to State Government is expected in November.

Source: The Age

07 April, 2008

Alan Jones: Adults are the real binge drinkers

Alan Jones has returned to the microphone for a diatribe on youth binge drinking. He claims (with the use of statistics from various sources) that as a nation we are drinking less, and the only large groups of daily drinkers are in older age groups. "And if we're going to talk about problem drinkers, we might have to accept that like many things, it's the adults, not the kids who are leading the way."

Source: Live News

06 April, 2008

Madonna and Prince Charles are trying to save the Pub

Both celebrities are trying to do their bit to save the old English pub from extinction - which are reported at closing at the rate of 27 a week. Prince Charles has been promoting village pubs with the campaign "Pub is the Hub", trying to encouraging communities, licensees and the owners of local pubs to work together to help "retain and enhance" rural pubs. While Madonna and Guy Ritchie have taken matters into their own hands, purchasing The Punch Bowl pub in London's Mayfair district.

Source: International Herald Tribune

The suburb that spends the most on alcohol is...

According to the Herald Sun, research released by Salmat and RDA Research puts postcode 3115, Wonga Park, as the suburb that spends the most on alcohol. While Docklands (3008) managed to score second place on booze purchases. Further detail showed the biggest wine spenders were Canterbury, Brighton and Docklands whilst the biggest spender on cigarettes was Frankston North.

Let the stereotyping begin...

Source: Herald Sun

04 April, 2008

New Pub: New York Tavern have just added the New York Tavern, near the south tower of the Rialto (corner of King and Collins Streets). You can find out more about them at their website,

£7 an hour for drinking buddy

A son who worried that his 88 year-old father might be getting lonely has posted a job offer in the local post office - earn £7 an hour to be a drinking companion for his father.

Michael Hammond, the son, said "It's a bit difficult at [his] age to go out to a pub on his own. He is hoping to find a gentleman who is not too bombastic and enjoys a nice pint."

The perfect candidate would be a man who can talk about engineering and golf.

Source: BBC

New Bar: Willow

Clem Bastow has reviewed the new Willow bar, which was formerly North Bazaar and Terra Firma before that, for Epicure.

"A sunny disposition and an utter lack of pretension is one of the nicest things about Willow." Read the full review.

03 April, 2008

New Review: Seamstress

Michael Harden has reviewed Seamstress for The Age's Epicure.

"There is plenty to love about the top floor of this former undergarment factory and clothing sweatshop." Read the full review.