I’ll admit a review of a Melbourne bar is a bit of an odd way to begin Drunkspec’s Origin Week. However, back during Good Beer Week, ammo and I decided to get in a few Pint of Origin venues between GABS sessions. Deja vu was the Queensland PoO (yep, I went there) venue, serving Queensland PoO beers (not sure how many more of these I can…squeeze out…yep, that’s enough).
Juvenility aside, ammo and I made our way to Deja vu on Friday night to get something eat and enjoy some of our home state’s beers, which had the added bonus of being within walking distance of our hotel. Except for Burleigh Brewing, I couldn’t actually think of any Queensland microbreweries off the top of my head and I assumed – correctly, it turns out – that there was no role for XXXX to play.
Entering a very dimly lit, narrow and noisy bar, we found a couple of seats and tried to read the beer menus. Admittedly, Pint of Origin was nearing it’s end and, perhaps indicative of the success of the event, at least half the beers seemed to be sold out. Fortunately, the bar staff were quite helpful and a pretty friendly bunch, so we got some beers in the end.
In our first round, we settled in with schooners of Burleigh Brewing’s FIGJAM IPA for me and Bacchus‘ Atomic Strawberry for ammo, who showed no fear in ordering a decidedly girly and low ABV beer. Truth be told, I probably would have preferred the Atomic. Even though it was surprisingly sour (“like drinking strawberry warheads”), it was also easy drinking. The FIGJAM was a bit harder going after GABS, although I only noted on Untappd, “Enjoying some Queensland PoO.” Douche.
We picked up some food menus. Listing a standard array of pub food at surprisingly reasonable prices, I chose a steak sandwich and ammo, if you can believe it, had a chicken parmigiana for the very first time. Appalling, I know. I got my sandwich in a timely fashion and it was perfectly satisfying, although not a standout, while ammo’s chicken parma ended up on the floor when two staff members collided. A fresh parma rolled off the presses as soon as it was available with apologies for the delay, so it was as positive an experience as having your food delayed can be. The parma was enormous and reportedly quite tasty, so Deja vu gets a big tick in the food box from me.
Before we headed off to meet some of ammo’s friends, we took in a second round. This time, both beers were from Bacchus: ammo had the Hopilingus and I opted for the Hibiscus Saison. At $27 for two schooners, this was starting to hurt the hip pocket. While I appreciate there are probably one-off costs in running an event like this, the prices were high, even by craft beer standards. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our respective Bacchus efforts, so the only thing holding back an event like this is a lack of involvement from Queensland breweries. This is a far cry from the multiple offerings of NSW, Victoria and WA. Even Tasmania had a better showing. Hopefully, Sunshine Coast, Fortitude Brewing and Green Beacon will chip in a few kegs next year.
After a couple of relaxing hours, we ducked outside and caught a cab into St Kilda. Those couples of hours had shown a substantial decrease in noise levels: the after-work drinks crowd were noisy as hell, an effect amplified by the exposed bricks and dirty ceiling (seriously, guys, wipe it down every six months). As the night wore on, the local professionals drifted out and we were left in a pleasant and laidback, if very dimly lit, bar (seriously, guys, install some real lights so I can read the fucking menu).
- Locality: Melbourne, VIC
- Type: Small bar
- Rating: 1 / 2 selection + 1 / 1 food + 1 / 2 ambiance = 3 / 5
- Interior Design: Cosy, exposed brick, candles and heritage light fittings mixed with a contemporary bar that looks a bit dated
- Likelihood of making a spectacle of yourself: No dancefloor, so you’re probably OK if you don’t flip out over the beer prices
- Plus: Well-priced pub food menu.
- Minus: Get some goddamn lights.