Bars and Nightclubs
Melbourne South, Melbourne

King of Tonga Bar

164A Tennyson St, Elwood, VIC
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We strive to provide a little slice of somewhere in the South Seas to locals and anyone else who seek to soak up the casual ambiance (with a drink and a tasty snack to hand), surrounded by some genuinely odd memorabilia. Driven by an overwhelming urge to put the excel back into excellent, we modestly propose that our bar is the funkiest place on the Manor. In fact, depending on the time of day, you can get anything you want, from quiet afternoons to packed comedy nights and suave cocktail soirees. Anyway, seeing is believing and believe us it’s worth seeing.

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What To Expect @ The King Of Tonga

Review by April Nelson

Ex‐Patriot bars in Asian back‐lands could be no more exotic than the King of Tonga Bar in Tennyson Street, Elwood. This tiny venue is squashed between a laundromat and a newsagent. Its entrance is no more than a door and a window, but within its narrow walls, stretches a large wooden bar surrounded by eclectic treasures of the rare and the odd.

The smell of incense lingers amongst the African style masks, batiks and rosewood décor. Retro postcards, ’70s period prints of topless Asian girls, more sweet; than sleaze, hang on the crowded wall. Above the bar is a Hindu elephant figurine that sits upon its alter surrounded by bottles of spirits and a furry dice. Tiger on tap, adds to the cache’.

It’s the authenticity that strikes you, as one sits and enjoys the radio acoustics. It would be so easy to believe I was having a drink in Asia, not because there is anAsian theme, but because it is the type of bar one would expect to find in the South Seas. It’s a bar for tourists, a home away from home that is morphed by the local flavour. It’s a total illusion, a gentle warping, because this is Elwood, not Bali.

The crowd adds to the illusion, the type of men one would expect to see slumming it on an island paradise with no real desire to return to the homeland. The occasional women are welcome, however it is a bit of a male clan.

Everybody seems to know your name at this bar; there is a tight set of regulars and friendly bar staff that are open for a chat. The proprietor swaggers about and mixes in with the crowd. It’s an intimate place to have a drink and chat. The fast pace of the world is pushed out and replaced by a slow easygoing vibe.

There are outside areas for smokers, a picnic table on the street, where tipsy guests smile and wave to neighbours. In the far back is an outside room with cane chairs and bright blues walls, it is a break from the cluttered ambience, like a garage where blokes can talk footy in a small courtyard.

On a Friday night, locals crowd in, to end the week of labour and flirt with neighbours. Ten years on the block has not affected its timeless retro appeal. The blokes give way to the ladies on Saturday night but I should warn you, this tiny place is not where you meet your crew, it’s where you catch up with a few.

A great time to visit is mid week happy hour, when there is enough room to lull in its corners, whist all the hard working locals are hammering away at work to pay for their large mortgages. In winter it’s warm and cosy and in summer it’s a cool dark cave of shade.

The owner calls the bar his Pan Pacific Raj.

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