If ever you find yourself in Brisbane on a Friday night, here’s my recipe for an outstanding evening. You will need:
- shoes comfortable enough for a good few hours’ dancing and stumbling
- at least two fabulous friends
- a functioning sense of humour
- little to no dignity
Step 1: Preparatory beers at the Boundary Hotel in West End
From the sticky tiles to the toothless regulars, the Boundary is the kind of pub that’s almost impossible to find these days, at least outside of small towns. The barmaids are surly, but you can hardly blame them when you consider their clientele. It’s grotty and unpredictable and without fail the house sound system plays Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young’s Harvest. With the scale of development in West End (the HiFi Bar is next door), this utopia may not last. Revel in the filth while you can.
Step 2: Dinner at Green Bamboo
At least, I think that’s the name of the place. It’s a block or so down toward Vulture St from the Boundary, and serves up super cheap, super delicious Vietnamese/Chinese food. BYO some cheap wine from the Boundary bottle-o (friends and I have found critical mass at one bottle per person) and be sure to order the salt-and-pepper whole flounder. (pictured) It will blow your mind. But the lights are very bright and sooner or later you’re going to want to head…
Step 3: Back to the Boundary for Blind Dog
Best bluesman I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of an amazing night in a Bleecker St club, is Blind Dog. He wears a top hat, and along with a revolving-door cast of backing players has had the Boundary’s Friday night residency for as long as I’ve known the pub to exist. He’s ubiquitous around West End, and the folklore goes that he could have been a huge star and followed his talent anywhere – but he found Brisbane’s going rate for heroin the most agreeable and never left. The dancefloor packs out for his laidback blues jams, and it’s also fun now and then to indulge in a sport we like to call “slut or prostitute?”. You never know who you’ll bump into. But you can be assured of a memorable evening. Let’s danz!