Bars and Nightclubs
Wollongong CBD, Wollongong

Ivory Bar

Unit 1, 77 Crown St, Wollongong, NSW
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Open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday The Ivory offers a range of cocktails, spirits and bottled beers from 8pm till early the next day. Featuring just the one bar, along with an outdoor smoking area and dance floor, the Ivory offers an eclectic mix of people and an unpredictable night.

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What to Expect @ The Ivory Bar

By Jeremy Tosswill

Open only 3 days of the week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) The Ivory has given me some of my greatest nights and been the source of my most punishing hangovers. However at times it has left me asking myself why I bother going outside, questioning my own existence as I sit in the gutter mentally preparing for the long trudge home in a bourbon stained top, friends lost, credit wasted on misspelled texts, unable to afford the smallest of cab fares… a ruined husk of a man.

Built in an old townhouse, The Ivory is simply a long extended room with a thin seedy smoking area running down the outside. There are two doors at either end – great for a quick bypass of the middle section of the club – and a conveyer belt to help you mingle with scattered friend groups. On a busy night it is hell to get served with one long bar slapped right in the middle of the wall, separating a CD changing DJ and a few sets of leather lounges and low glass topped tables. Rating myself an astute queuer when it comes to working my way to the front of the bar, there have been times where it’s reached epic journey length where friends are lost into the pulsating crowd, girls you were buying drinks for have simply got tired and gone home and people have died of exhaustion held up in the line merely by the press of bodies. With no draught beers, it’s all spirits and a half decent range of bottled beers. However, at $8 a pop (for Wollongong prices) is a heartbreaking experience. Minesweeping (the art of pinching poorly watched drinks from those foolish enough to let their guard down) has often reached pandemic levels here. The results from such tactics are a great night and an awful flu the following week.

The $10 cover charge which meets you at the end of a pleasingly small line on a Saturday is a pointless expense as you walk inside and see that the place is jammed. The mix is about half and half gender wise and the same again applies for ages: students, people out on work dos, dedicated weekend warriors passing the weekend away in a drunken haze and hungry-eyed cougars that stare you down without shame. There exists an unofficial over 25’s entry policy although this doesn’t seem to apply to anything female in a skirt. On top of this there’s a collared shirt policy for the guys enforced vaguely and at random depending on your state of intoxication, your smell, the direction your eyes are pointing and I think generally whether the bouncers like the look of you and your mates. The great thing is that once you’ve been stamped you generally can move in and out of the place at will for credit, smokes, food or to drink from your stash hidden in the garden round the corner.

The Ivory is a dichotomy of what frustrates you with a bar. Brilliant when it’s cheap and only half full with the music at levels where you can hold a decent conversation, and punishing when it’s packed, yet somehow alluring. One Saturday night it seemed like half an hour before I got served. Unwilling to go through the trauma again I put in a 5 drink order of 2 bourbons and 3 beers. Friends now completely lost and $40 later, I look forlornly at the $10 change left over from a fifty and think ‘screw this’ with thoughts of downing my drinks and wandering the streets forming. Yet the Ivory in its fickle nature offers out an olive branch of hope and good will as you realise there are several groups of uni-aged girls chatting out the back. Then a middle aged hand snakes through the masses and pinches my arse. I turn round and an older face is smiling at me… I’ve landed in Cougar town. Like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books, it’s up to you to map how your night will turn out.

The great thing about this place is that you cannot get kicked out for anything short of murder. The Ivory has become some sort of haven for those either not allowed in or kicked out of other places. The perfect stopping point for the lubricated soloist who has nothing to lose and is past the point of caring how much money they’re spending or retaining any sense of dignity as they dance like an idiot full of the belief that there is no tomorrow so you may as well drink like it.

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