Last week I ventured into The Gallipolli Memorial Club (Dugout Bar) at the Circular Quay end of Castlereagh St for a few beers with an old work colleague. Its a small RSL with a Chinese lunchtime noshery and $3 schooners during happy hour. The previous week I had met up with Our Man Lermie outside the Automobile Club before heading off for a couple of quick beers.This got me remembering a couple of quirky little clubs which I used to frequent but no longer have their own premises.
The Cricketers Club Of NSW used to house iteslf above the bank in Barrack Street, Sydney. I became a member because of the proximity to where I worked, low beer prices, their magnificent bacon sandwiches and the cricketing memorabilia which adorned the walls. Every year they'd host a dinner for whichever team was touring and that was always entertaining. The place was a rightly well regarded establishment. It had affiliations with international and interstate cricket clubs including the Cricketers Club based at the Gabba. Back in the 80's I used the reciprocal arrangements to ensconce myself in that clubs fantastic facilities during a couple of Test matches. It was old school, cheap drinks in glasses and a brilliant view of the ground. Fine times indeed except for the fucking West Indies giving our blokes a complete towelling.
Now for all of the vegan whingers out there, The Bicycle Club was housed on the 3rd floor of 36 Carrington St, right next door to the Menzies Hotel and right below a component of the State Headquarters of the Department Of Social Security for whom I worked. That was a top fucking place for afternoon tea and no mistake. Cheap drinks, a sit-down Space Invaders game, jukebox, poker machines and a shit load of drunk public servants. Not one bicycle rider to be seen. In fact I don't think I ever saw anyone remotely resembling a cyclist in the too few years I attended the place. Obviously it couldn't cope and eventually shut down. I think their lease eventually went from reasonable to "you fuckers now have to pay Prime CBD rates or yez can fuck off out of there." I think they re-established in a cheap suburb somewhere but our venue loyalty at afternoon tea time didn't extend to travelling for more than 20 seconds in a lift let alone hop on a train to nowherefuckingstan. So when it shut we just frequented the bars of the Menzies Hotel and various pubs within a five minute walk.
One of my faves was The Occidental. Back in the day it was more like a country pub and we ended up running amok there., but mostly in a good way. The back lane was a different matter but that's a tale for another time.
The Occi used to serve country style lunches, roast of the day, rissoles, vegies, proper mashed potato and it never cost more than two beers. Don't know what its like now but I'll check it out again soon. One of the bar managers there graduated to taking on the licence of The Chamberlain Hotel (before it got done up like a cheap St Kilda tramp), The Captain Cook and now has the licence for The Metropolitan. If you ever venture in there say g'day to Mark, Michelle or Chris (Young'Un). The steaks aren't bad if you're feeling hungry. Tell Mark he'd banned you once from the Chambo or The Cook for abusing The Angry Red Head.
I'm currently trying to get a WW fan fic piece together which will feature the Chambo. Its a crap bit of writing at the moment and needs something. Perhaps it could be Havock wearing a frock or Dr Yobbo sans hat. Maybe just tits 'n arse and a cheap joke. We'll see.
I'm now heading off to The Dugout for a few Friday nighters. Cheers!