The Elephant and Wheelbarrow is the name of a chain of English-theme public houses in Melbourne, Australia, and possibly elsewhere in the world.1

These establishments are made up to look like European brown bars, with soft lighting and comfortable tables. The staff are friendly and the telephone is in a real ex-British Telecom red phone box. A television is usually present and during the World Cup football is televised, albeit without sound. It soes sound nice, but unfortuately it's just so bloody fake.

Melbourne has quite a large English backpacker and expat population, as well as many Anglophiles so these places attract thousands with their subtle placement of English flags and other pommie paraphenalia. Therefore, the problem is that these places unfortunately usually feature a high proportion of yuppie wankers2. Consequently, the music is rather bad and people are loud, especially in the evenings. Presumably also, the television is used to show trashy Channel 9 programs during those dark times when there is no World Cup.

At the pub at on the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets over ten English, Irish and Scottish beers are served on tap, including Tetley's, Bass, Newcastle Brown Ale, Old Speckled Hen and of course Guinness. The prices are not unreasonable - $A6.50 for a pint of Guinness during the day, $A7 for the bitters/ales. There is NO VB - the only Australian beer is the New South Welsh abomination Toohey's.

Also served is hot food, some of which is available throughout the day. As I am unlikely to return to this establishment I will likely not try this, but it seems reasonably priced at $A9 to $A15 for pastas, salads, burgers etc. I bet it's pretty average food though.

If you're stuck in the City with some time to kill during the day and are strongly desirous of a Guinness or a quick pot of lager, then there are worse places you could end up than the Elephant and Wheelbarrow - the Shanghai Club, for example. There's really not much else in the City anyway. Beware: I haven't tried every beer but both Bass and Tetley's - Bass especially - taste like water. At least it's not served warm.

In the evenings, best avoid the city altogether if you're looking for a nice place to drink. Go to a nice inner suburb.

Compare Bridie O'Reilly's (shitty "Irish" chain pub)
Contrast the Empress Hotel (Real pub); Charles Dickens Tavern (better pub in Melbourne city).


1. sideways sez: There's also an Elephant and Wheelbarrow in Perth, WA. Of note is that they sell Nail Ale there, which is very possibly the best beer in Perth (brewed at Bobby Dazzlers in the city). BlackPawn says There is also a Sydney instance of the phenomona. (sic)
2. Tautology?
The Saint Kilda Elephant and Wheelbarrow is noted for hosting Neighbours Nights, wherein certain members of the Neighbours cast (a rather popular Australian soap) mingle with common street people. To any Australian, this doesn't sound like much of a deal at all, but I know of some Brits who'd give their right arm just for the possibility of maybe meeting, say, Dr. Karl.

It seems a somewhat of a strange idea to have well-known celebrities hanging out at pubs (and advertising the fact), but for some reason it seems like a typically Australian thing to be doing.

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