LATELY — 2 June 2002

Cold and the Hollywood Palace; Favourite Places

Just walked up to Hollywood Palace on Bridge Rd (“No Half Souvlakis / No Credit”) to get a late-night egg and bacon toasted sandwich. It’s awful cold out there. In the scheme of things, it’s actually not cold, of course. This is Melbourne after all. But I have been to some genuinely cold places—Prague, say—and never found the cold there to be as objectional as it is here. When it never gets really cold—below freezing, shall we define it—it’s all too easy to fuck about with half-measures. You don’t need gloves, you don’t need a hat—and so you don’t wear them—and so the cold insults your ears and nose and fingers.

The Hollywood Palace is one of two Hollywoods in Richmond: the other is Hollywood Pizza (on Swan St, under Richmond Station). I find this incredibly amusing. What are the chances? (Melbourne also has at least three bars named for rooms of a house: a Lounge, a Laundry and a Loft. This too intrigues me.)

Hollywood Palace is perhaps not one of my favourite places in Melbourne but it does have its uses. If it can possibly be arranged, your residence should be sited within walking distance of a greasy take-away. Preferably one that never closes. Hollywood Palace does souvlakis, burgers, chips, toasted sandwiches… for whenever you feel the need.

Perhaps I should mention some actual favourite places.

There’s the Baked Potato Cafe. This is pretty much opposite the Hollywood Palace on Bridge Rd. Vegetarian baked potatoes, very large serves. I generally get the the broccoli.

The Lambsgo Bar (c.f. “cows go moo”). This is on whatever street intersects with Smith St at the KFC. Small, very chummy. Bartenders will remark upon your choice of beer and may, by way of apologising for closing on you, invite you to another bar. There are board games. (Trevor and I once spent over an hour working out the optimal strategy for two-card Guess Who—unless you have a prodigious memory, probably best to do each card separately.) Lax smoking-with-food policy.

Lady Luck (180-something Brunswick St—near the housing commission flats). Is separated a warehouse of cut-price clothes by a bamboo partition. I don’t know what makes this place so comfortable, but it is. For Saturday/Sunday afternoons.

Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone (on St Kilda Rd, in the grounds of the Victorian Institute for the Blind). Belgian food (fries with mayonnaise, etc.), Belgian beer, chocolate waffles. Reasonably corporate, also can get pretty busy. Cosgriff is apparently often there twice a day.

Gin Palace (off Lt Collins St). Fancy drinking establishment (i.e. you sit down, some waiter with artful facial hair takes your order). Lots of plush fabrics. There’s a curtained-off “harem.” The chocolate fondue is recommended.

Yelza (Gertrude St, near Smith St). This used to have a too-large fountain in the middle of the restaurant section. What look to be 18th C. family portraits are on the walls. (The walls are covered with flocked wallpaper.) My out-of-town visitors are brought here.

Cafe Baloo (Russell St, near Lonsdale St). Mostly Indian, but pasta is served too. A few years ago this place was magnificent. Garlic hung from the roof. Serving staff seemed to be made up of philosophy graduate students. It’s still good, just not quite what it was.