Bars and Nightclubs
Fitzroy, Melbourne

Gertrude’s Brown Couch

30 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, 3065
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Our cozy hide away in Gertrude Street is located half way between the central business district and Brunswick Street, backing onto St Vincent’s Hospital. A dimly lit warm front bar, a vast private function space, a protected courtyard and an intimate live venue all in one lot. Tasty micro-brews, value pub meals, a colourful cocktail list and some spicy home infused spirits will all go a long way towards livening up your first or next visit. Please wander around this site and find a place for yourself here.

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Gertrude’s Brown Couch Review

Review by Harry Frost

Friday night and it’s the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. Gaggles of hipsters stand on street corners and stare in faux wonder as colours and shapes dance across housing commission flats. It’s bitterly cold and even beneath copious facial hair and beanies the gawkers shiver. My colleagues and I are starting to sober and things are looking desperate. Through the dazzling lights and haze of pretension comes the answer to our prayers: The Brown Couch!

Into the warmth of the front bar we charge. A high wooden bar commands a cozy, low ceilinged room. There is a small selection of tap beers and shelves filled with expensive looking wine. One eye closed for clarity I attempt to read the blackboard behind the bar, but deliberation is kept to a minimum – something must be done fast. The bar tender accepts a haggard collection of loose change and hands over a frothy, drippy jug of beer. A calming tune floats from the speakers above. A collection of well-worn couches awaits us through a narrow brickwork passage. The desperation lifts.

Feeling rejuvenated, we solve several of the world’s problems before someone triumphantly holds a credit card aloft. We become more creative in our method of intoxication. After consulting the menu and interrogating the bar staff, we discovered a delightful selection of spirits tucked beneath the bar. We leer at our fellow patrons: a mix of young alternative student types and the older arty crowd. Debate begins. After much deliberation we settle on who the prettiest girl in the bar is. A party is dispatched for a closer investigation. Bemused, she smiles but continues to chat with her friends. Mission fail. No worries; the night is young.

The warmth and comfort starts to take its toll and we begin to slow down – fresh air is needed. We drift through to a beer garden where groups huddle in alcoves on wooden benches. Bottled beer and spirits warm us against the chill. My friend offers free medical advice to a hairy musical looking bunch. They laugh and nod, yet seem unconvinced of the benefits of Vitamin D. It’s time to head back inside.

We return to the front bar to find it has become crowded. It appears the projections have lost their appeal. We decide it’s time to shift gears and uncharacteristically tasty shots are ordered. The crowd here are more receptive to the medical advice. More beers, and strange cocktails with stranger names send us staggering back to the couches. All the world’s problems have been solved and it’s time to move on. Happy, drunk and warm we tumble back into the night. The projections are gone and their admirers have dispersed. Thanks to Gertrude’s Brown Couch we no longer feel the cold.

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A Second Review of Gertrude’s Brown Couch

Review By Miranda Luby

As the name suggests, Gertrude’s Brown Couch is not a place for high heels and high glamour. There are no designer labels here, no faces full of makeup and certainly no handsome men in suits to buy you a drink. But what it lacks in style it makes up for in culture. This cool little pub is quintessentially ‘Melbourne’.

It’s easy to miss walking down Gertrude St. in Fitzroy; one casual door man in front of nondescript glass doors. Downstairs is a small little pub with wooden seats and couches, beaded lamps and empty gold picture frames on dark walls. The big blackboard behind the bar is worth a read if you’re keen to try a jug of ‘liquid cocaine’ ($25). This mixture of Vodka, AGWA and a full can of Red Bull topped up with Gyspy Cider is sure to keep you lively and talkative. The food is also worth the visit – cheap and delicious. Tuesday is ‘Parmas of the world’ night, Wednesday is ‘Best of India’ and Thursday is good old ‘Steak Night’. I saw someone scoffing down some nachos when I went, they must have been pretty tasty.

I was there on a Friday night to see a friend of a friend’s punk band (as a newbie in Melbourne, I promised myself I’d give anything a try). So after a good quality cider and a glass of Pino Gris, I followed the crowd upstairs and paid $6 to get into a small long room with a stage.

For the first few songs I gripped my glass and tentatively bopped around as the head-banging guy next to me got his piercings caught in his dreadlocks. When I was through my third drink however I felt a bit more comfortable and danced along, giving a confident smile to anyone who looked at me as if I didn’t belong… I’m talking about you, girl with the purple hair.

After the band, everyone strolled back downstairs to continue drinking. I stopped halfway down and discovered a cool little outdoor courtyard. A few 30-year-olds sat drinking, smoking and chatting, giving the whole place a house party vibe (think Newtown house party if you know Sydney).

My friends and I found a cozy couch back down in the bar and spent the next few hours getting drunk and talking about everything and anything. There were enough people and some cool music to create a great atmosphere but it was quiet enough to spread out keep the drinks flowing in quick succession.

I went home feeling drunk, full and one step closer to discovering what Melbourne is all about.

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