Life in Brisbane is a rolling celebration. I'm here to invite you to the party. I'm new to the game of free-lance and excited to throw my passion into something.
Published August 14th 2012
Forget Yumcha, try Pubcha
Unlike many others of its kind, the Annandale has the ability to lure you in purely with its view from the street. Standing proudly on the infamously busy Parramatta Road, The Annandale Hotel offer's itself as a Rock mecca in an otherwise industrial area, enticing you in with its eclectic charm – which in this instance I mean as a compliment.
The Annandale - A Haven for Music Lovers Alike
Stepping through the side entrance brings you into the restaurant at the back of the pub. Warm and buzzing with the anticipatory energy of the gig, the restaurant is more like a garage party, just with better food.
The menu overhead the bar offers the simplicity one hopes for after a long working week. The take-away style four steps menu allows you to create a Thai dish to taste, and order at the same time the beer required to wash it down. Living in the Inner West, I am spoilt for choice when it comes to Thai food.
Having spent time in Thailand, my expectations were pretty low. Pad Thai is Pad Thai, I thought to myself. I like when venues prove me wrong. After waiting admittedly longer than I would have liked, the kitchen crew produced the kind of combination Pad Thai that leaves you with a satisfyingly tingling tongue that is begging for more, despite a protestingly full stomach.
I usually avoid anything described as "combination", as the term often translates to "cheap marinara mix and some chicken gristle". Perfectly cooked strips of lamb was accompanied by mouth-watering pork, tender chicken pieces and unexpectedly generous rings of calamari, juicy fish and prawns I wanted to go home for the night with. Spectacular. Generous lashings of the hot-sauce they keep on the counter allowed me the punch in the face that I expect from Asian cuisine.
Pub Thai like you wouldn't expect
Satisfyingly stuffed, we made our way through to the main bar to await the start of the gig we were there to see. Passing the backstage area where the band were tuning their instruments added to the pre-gig buzz. The Annandale Hotel has since the early 80s been renowned as being a playground to local and international acts, including Kings of Leon, Jebediah, Superjesus, The Vines, Regurgitator and the Dandy Warhols, (to name but a few).
The patronage has recently consisted of the likes of Foo Fighters members, Jack Black and the guys from Metallica – whose bassist ended up helping out the bar staff by picking up empty glasses! The Annandale has recently battled financial strain, to which they responded by launching their "Buy a Brick" campaign, a logical step towards a much needed refurb and as owner Matt Rule says; "Having punters own a part of this place will allow it to remain as a music venue." Needless to say, with this amount of practice, the Annandale knows how to host a good show. Intimate staging and raised seating towards the back creates a venue where punters feel more like part of the show than mere spectators.
Something that particularly struck me about the Annandale was the service. In a loud, crowded music venue, bar staff and security are easily forgiven for being abrupt. Uncharacteristically of these kinds of venues, the doorman was friendly, helpful and patient. (Having enjoyed perhaps a few too many, I was often in need of directions). The bar staff, rather than adopting the aloof, no, bored persona most inevitably do when dealing night in and night out with dribbling idiots were instead cheerful and energetic. Not once, when ordering sparkling in a rock pub, was I met with the kind of expression one would expect to illicit when informing someone I'd just thrown up in their shoe.
For more information on what The Annandale Hotel has to offer (Pub Cha, anyone?), visit their website.