Picture this: it’s 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and your mate is having a house party. You arrive, there’s a DJ playing and you snag a seat in the sun. But instead of lukewarm stubbies in the bathtub, there are 33 taps of cold self-serve booze.
That’s the kind of scene friends and co-owners Jimmy Roe (ex-Good Drinks) and Duncan McGeoch have created at their new venue Buddy’s, Newtown’s first dedicated self-serve boozer in the former Lentil as Anything site.
“Everything here is a little wonky,” Roe says. “We want it to feel very welcoming, like you’re walking into your buddy’s house.”
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McGeoch had the idea for a self-serve bar when he was living in the US, where he spent four years installing self-serve systems at hundreds of bars. He saw how well-received the concept was and teamed up with Roe to open their own spot with the same dynamic. Forty-nine trips to Bunnings later, the pair opened the bright orange bar in January this year.
On arrival, visitors get a Buddy’s card to preload. It gets you up to three standard drinks. Once you reach the limit, a staff member can reactivate the card. The crew hangs around the drinks wall to help any first-time pourers, who might find a sour from Atomic Brewery on offer, or a cider by Yulli’s.
Alongside the strong line-up of local brews – including Buddy’s very own lager – there are cocktails and natural wines on tap from the likes of Doom Juice.
Buddy’s has also teamed up with Rub-a-Dub for its snacks menu. There are glazed, chargrilled chicken ribs coated in Rub-a-Dub seasoning (you can choose from a smoky Tasmanian pepperberry rub or spicy lemon myrtle), nachos (vegan or not), piadinas, bruschettas and, for dessert, fairy bread.
Roe and McGeoch have just introduced Sunday sessions with solo artists performing on the street out front, adding to the live music program of DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. And 12 more taps are being installed in the upstairs space, which can be booked out for functions and birthday parties, and which will soon host regular midweek comedy shows.
The duo says Buddy’s wouldn’t have been possible without help from their own buddies.
“The inspiration behind Buddy’s came from a couple of beers and a poorly drawn sketch,” says Roe.
“We did a lot of [the fit-out] ourselves, but we also had a lot of help from really great friends, all in different trades and some in design. The name Buddy’s is essentially because the venue was built from all of our buddies that helped out.”
391 King Street, Newtown
Wed to Fri 4pm–12am
Sat & Sun 2pm–12am