I'm not a fan of bars with dress codes. I dislike bars that charge double digits for a pot of beer. And I really don't like when bars pump the music so loud you can't hear what you're saying to the person next to you and you both end up with a ringing in your ears for the next two days. So it won't be much of a surprise if I told you I was very happy to have discovered E Fifty Five.
This cozy looking bar is almost hidden in the strips of take away eateries on Elizabeth Street. I must've walked past this place at least a dozen times without ever knowing it was a pub. A steel metal staircase leads you down from the streets into a warm, quaint welcoming lounge room setting that is E Fifty Five. Apart from being a pub, it is also an internet café that is frequented a lot by nearby backpackers. Adorning the walls are paintings from local artists that refresh every couple of weeks. The only staple painting is a remarkable blue and black painting of a man's face which I actually thought was a storm trooper. You'll know what I mean when you see it. Tucked away in a corner is a DJ set where E Fifty Five's resident DJs can be heard every night of the week mixing dub-step, reggae, electric adding a funky vibe to the place.
E Fifty Five's well known for its cheap drinks and food. With $10 jugs and $5 pizzas, it is a haven for travelers and uni students alike. The choices of tap beers are limited though with only two to choose from with Golden Ale seemingly a staple there. The service is friendly and laid back befitting the general vibe of the place.
It is true that the comfy lounge design of E Fifty Five has been copied at least a hundred times by other bars and pubs around Melbourne but I have yet to find one that feels as honest as E Fifty Five. Perhaps it's the presence of the DJs with their own sets that gives the pub an authenticity missing in its doppelgangers or the artistic feel of the gallery. And that's E Ffity Five's gem. The place is as much about the art and the music as it is about the drinks.
E Fifty Five presents an aura of relaxation amidst an air of cool. You just can't help but relax as you slink into one of their immensely comfortable sofas and feel grateful that there is at least one pub in Melbourne that can offer people an experience other than alcohol.