I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published August 8th 2015
Kick some goals at the Turf Bar
The Turf Bar, in Melbourne's CBD, is located rather unobtrusively in Queen Street, amongst office buildings, law firms and a rather odd mixture of retail shops. You might not really even realise it's there as you pass by hurriedly on your way to work during the day, but on a Friday night in winter, the place was packed.
It's a sports bar that's a few steps up from a pub, with decent food (at very reasonable prices), wood-paneled walls and a large selection of beer, ranging from old school favourites to modern craft-style beers. Oh, and TVs – a LOT of TVs, screening all the best live (and replayed) sport seven nights a week. There's three big screens for the main-event sports, and numerous other smaller plasma screens located throughout the bar, giving you perfect sports-viewing pleasure wherever you've parked yourself for the evening.
Big screens are located throughout the Turf Bar for your sports viewing pleasure
The atmosphere is casual enough to be welcoming and inviting, but not so much that you feel like you're in the dodgy bar of a fairly ordinary pub in the 'burbs. Cocktails and private booths and Angus beef burgers and roasted eggplant pizzas give the place a bit of upper-class pizzazz, but without the astronomical restaurant prices and associated pretentiousness. Steaks and wings ($15 for a dozen on the weekends) and wedges and steakfries and chicken parmas are of course on the menu too—because what else goes better with a beer and football on the big screen? (And whilst I'm not a huge football fan, their steakfries are damn good—thick and crunchy and chunky and very, very tasty.)
Beer and the big screen...and a cocktail for the lady.
It's loud inside, but not so loud that you can't have a conversation with your dining companions (am I showing my age here?). The lighting is at that perfect level where it's not too dark, but just dimmed down enough to make for ideal TV-watching, casting the wooden tables and chairs and deep-red covered pool tables in a cosy glow. Framed and signed sports-jerseys adorn the walls, and wooden boxes on each table house napkins, cutlery and ketchup, adding to the causal, relaxed feel of the dining area.
The crowd was fairly mixed on our recent Friday night visit; some young, some old, male and female, couples, small groups and large groups. There were your die-hard sports fans in footy jumpers and baseball caps, young professionals with ties discarded and shirt collars unbuttoned engaging in a heated political debate, and even one older gentlemen, siting alone in his red parka, contentedly and methodically eating his fries with one hand, the other hand turning the pages of his newspaper.
Service was very friendly and quick, with food ordered at the bar, then brought out to your table a short time later. Meal sizes were not huge, but just the right size, and once again, I can attest to the deliciousness of the steakfries (as can the guy sitting on the next table—perhaps a regular patron, he wiggled his fingers with delight and anticipation when his basket of fries arrived at his table). My pulled pork sandwich on rye bread had just the right kick of spice, served with crisp, fresh coleslaw and yes, those delicious steakfries. Continuing with the American barbecue flavour of the evening, my dining partner chose the Texas-style brisket, it too with coleslaw and the thick steakfries. Desert was (sadly) limited to one special (as well as a cheeseboard), but when you're kicking back with a beer and watching football, desert is generally far from one's mind (except mine…).
The Turf Bar is the perfect place for a casual beer or cocktail, a decent meal, a catch-up with friends, and of course, a bit (or a lot) of sport to get those friendly rivalries flaring. Whether you work in the CBD, need somewhere to hang out before heading off to a game at the MCG or Etihad, or are spending a relaxing weekend in the city, the Turf Bar will kick all your goals.