Born in Madeira, raised in Sydney, living in Melbourne and dreaming of Bali...
Published August 1st 2011
Being a long-time St George local means that being the designated driver or paying more than $50 to get home from some of Sydney's best nightspots is the norm.
The number of decent hotels, pubs and bars in the area is less than a handful, I would guess - forcing many of us to venture outside of our local suburbs and into the city and Eastern suburbs.
But recently, my best friend and I have started visiting The Rocksia Hotel on a wintery Friday night. I am not sure whether it's just been too cold to bother venturing further to the inner city, or whether we are just getting older and less picky - but whatever the reason, we have somehow become semi-regulars.
For those of you who are not familiar with The Rocksia, imagine a modern RSL club, minus the RSL affiliation. A sports bar, second 'main' bar, poker machine room and accompanying bar and a bistro and eating area make up this venue, located on the busy Princess Highway, near Banksia train station. The Rocksia also offers a drive through bottle shop and on site parking - which is normally jam-packed on a Friday night.
Before you get excited and rush over to check it out, let me warn you about Friday nights (and I assume Saturday nights would be similar).
To start with, the sports bar is almost empty despite a live performance - usually a decent (and sometimes good looking) acoustic duo, a guitarist and singer. This is the bar to come to for fast drink service and space away from the crowds.
The main bar is almost impossible to get access to and if you expect to wait patiently and politely you will soon discover that everyone has pushed in and left you high and dry.
Drinks are not as cheap as you would think or expect at a local pub. But I guess with the numbers they seem to bring in, they don't see themselves as just a local pub. Spirits are $6-7 and the selections of cocktails written up on the chalkboard are priced at $12. There is always a larger proportion of ice in any glass than actual liquid, but I know that phenomenon is not only found at this establishment so we can't be too upset- right?
The music in the main bar is best described as loud, so don't expect a deep an meaningful conversation. Depending on the DJ the music genre ranges from urban and hip hop to hard party dance tunes. And the space directly in front of the DJ and bar is usually heaving with sweaty bodies dancing all night (another reason why this bar is so hard to access).
The clientèle is mostly twenty-something locals, hanging out in groups of threes, fours and more. Heavy make up, inflated chests, skin tight pants and shiny black boots make a regular appearance with the girls. While the boys simply get away with t-shirts and jeans (as long as they have added sensible shoes to the outfit).
More often than not, a convoy of police officers block the car park entrance with their vans and wagons, and in they come striding through the bar in a clear display of authority. I have never seen any serious trouble actually go down at The Rocksia, but I guess there has to be a reason for the repeat visits from the boys in blue. I can only assume (and add some drama to the story) that something more sinister than just your average bar brawl may be afoot.
So, you ask, considering everything I have described why do I go continue to visit The Rocksia?
I can only assume that it's for three main reasons: 1. It's proximity to my bed, 2. Music that I can dance to (the urban and hip hop DJ preferably) and 3. The fact that I am not surrounded by a bunch of pretentious inner-city hipster wannabes who turn up their nose at anyone or anything who is not perceived to be 'cool'.
Yes, The Rocksia Hotel is somewhere I go for a few laughs and drinks, a bit of a boogie and a quick, easy trip home at 3am!