I have seen the other side and it is immense. Everything about it is on a scale that just doesn’t work. Not big like city buildings, tickling the belly of the sky but big like a dream of a place that looks like it should be on a more human scale. I had a dream once in which what was obviously a plastic bag was a cave that could have contained Niagara Falls.
I’d like to say I lived there, briefly: the other side, but that would hardly be accurate. I did visit though, in a borrowed car, feet not being an appropriate mode of transport when travelling such soul-stretching distances. I drove for 7 minutes to get there. I felt I should have had to board a plane and be shot to edge of the atmosphere, a distance more congruent with the staggering translation of concept.
I left with a rake and a handful of other items that would survive the crossing back into my more familiar habitat. I sincerely hope I do not have to return for a long time, though within me lurks the feat that I might one day end up living there.
My first thought, looking around this bar is that it is a perfect example of the way Western popular culture is eating itself; it doesn’t so much look like a recreation of a 1920s bar with a twist, as a recreation of a recreation of a 1920s bar with a limp bit of lemon floating in it. Although the crypto-taxidermied rabbit is a nice touch.
The place is new enough that they’re still painting the entryway and it has all the contrived underground-chic and Fitzroy-snobbery you would expect of a new overpriced cocktail joint on Gertrude St. The cocktails are good, but, honestly, that’s hardly enough, the cocktails are good at The Carlton Yacht Club and it has more character and lower prices. If you’re opening a cocktail bar it’s pretty much a given that the cocktails will be good, you need to do more if you want it to be a good cocktail bar. Especially if you’re going to overcharge, not just for the cocktails, but for bottled beer and house wines.
A trip to the wash-rooms will reveal at least one reason for the wallet-gouging; in place of paper towel the Everleigh has a pile of old-fashioned looking hand-towels; their laundry bill must be immense. Also in the toilets is the list of house-rules which is about as pretentious and onanistic as one might expect, and then a little more. It includes an admonishment that groups larger than 6 cannot be catered for, as they offer seated service only, perhaps another reason they have to charge 20% more than most others offering a similar product.
But some people like to be overcharged at restaurants and bars; it makes them feel important or something, so if that’s you, you’ll probably love the Everleigh. But really, if you must pay too much for a cocktail, hoof it a couple of blocks up Brunswick St to the Alchemist; the atmosphere leaves the Everleigh for dead.
Verdict: I had a good time, but I didn’t stay long and I shan’t be going back, there are a host of better cocktail bars in and around the area, try the aforementioned Carlton Yacht Club or Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets instead. 1.5 admittedly mighty tasty Mint Juleps out of 5.