It was near impossible to get a taxi in Kings Cross on Friday night. “You see what happens when they introduce lock up laws, and try to gentrify the place?”, my friend said, as we waited for a taxi. Having seen a play at Hayes Theatre, we walked along Darlinghurst Road, remembering the days when Kings Cross had a “livelier” nightlife scene.
“I don’t care about them closing down The Bourbon, but I’ll never forgive them for closing down Barons”, she added. Yes indeed. Barons was a bar in a terrace where you could go and drink when everywhere else was closed. They didn’t appear to have any sense of RSA (responsible service of alcohol), as we had both been there, and had both been served when we were, admittedly, quite intoxicated. Nonetheless, they had a policy where you had to eat some food downstairs before you could go upstairs to drink. Long before the acronym “MVP” (minimum viable product) became popular, people going into Barons would often order garlic bread before heading upstairs. Though both the music and the crowd were were diverse long before the phrase became popular, they had one thing in common: complete indulgence. My friend’s favourite anecdote involves having fallen down the stairs in a drunken haze, only to be asked by the bouncer, “Are you coming in or going out?”.
Ah the good old days of Sydney. And that’s what the play, “Darlinghurst Nights” we saw on Friday night at Hayes Theatre was all about. Based on a work by Kenneth Slessor (every Australian of a certain age has studied his work, in particular “Five Bells”), it was set in the 1930s/1940s, and involved a range of characters whose common connection was living in the area. A couple of people from the country, a prostitute, a pimp, a drunk, a journalist etc. On top of that, it was a musical which had been previously performed back in the 1980s/1990s, and then again during the arts festival at the Sydney Olympics. We both enjoyed it very much.
Though we had intended to eat before hand at one of our favourite restaurants, Fratelli Fresh, we sadly discovered that’s now closed, and has moved to the Entertainment Quarter at Fox Studios. Instead, we at across the road at The Apollo, where we dined on some excellent barbecue chicken. Highly recommended.
Also on the weekend, I dined at my favourite local Chinese, Beijing Dumplings, which has also gone “up market”. Well, not “that much really”, though there are now female waiters instead of big beefy blokes, the chefs are now wearing “chefs hats”, and sadly, it seems dumplings are no longer prominent on the menu.
Though they’ve only been there for a short period of time, it’s the passing of another era.