If there was a year to do it, it was this one.
I was turning 35 and I had to have a birthday party. Not ‘birthday drinks’, but a Birthday Party.
I discovered the quaint little bar, The Night Heron, with a mate a few months ago. A local had told me that it was brand new and he had stumbled upon it by accident and had been sipping amber liquid there a few nights a week since. It had a beer garden. My buddy and I had to try it. We did and they played Holst’s The Planets for me on request.
I loved this bar instantly.
The inner west seems to have had a spike in tiny bars of late. I’m a sucker for the classics: The Yarra Lounge, The Reverence, Seddon Wine Store; but I’m always up for trying somewhere new. Especially if it has the pre-requisites that I so love: beer garden, tinnies and a most excellent playlist that includes everything from Toto to Technotronic to Sinatra and a bit of Wilson Phillips for those special moments.
I returned to The Night Heron only a few weeks ago. I had it in my sparkly mind that this was the place to hold such an eventful birthday party. Upon returning I discovered a former work colleague of mine behind the bar. An artist by day and bar owner by night, I knew my party was going to be in good hands with Ross Taylor at the helm.
Before I even approached him with all my party-esque questions, Ross explained that there were some radical food options nearby that could deliver tucker to my hungry little guests as they guzzled frothies in the beer garden.
Burger Business sits right next door and offers a quality beef-n-bun option with sensational chippage in old school packaging. A sure stomach liner if you are planning a big night.
A couple of doors down is Addis Abeba, a very well recommended Ethiopian eatery who will also deliver to the bar, making these last of the summer nights an absolute pleasure.
When the Birthday Party arrived, I was equipped with knowledge. I had booked the beer garden and had made a dress fit for the occasion out of a Ken Done curtain. I was ready and so was this fine little bar.
The beats were pumping and my pals came rolling in – some of them even crossed town to the ‘westside’ to experience this little place I’d been raving about. They ate burgers, they drank Footscray lager, they stayed all the way to the 1am curfew and best of all, they cheered when a superb choc-mint 90s themed birthday cake came out topped with sparklers and candles and my favourite mixed cassette tape, just for me.
It was an excellent Birthday Party. One that I won’t forget. What made it sublime was the gorgeous Night Heron and it’s oh-so-Footscray appeal that provided me and my bestest of mates with the bestest of times.
My highlights? The Night Heron lager is rad as is the Castlemaine Celtic Red Ale on tap. The staff are fun and friendly, there’s a different dj mixing vinyl most weekends, the beer garden is easy and oh so very appealing on a warm night and it feels like you’re in your hood. Which you are. This should become your new local (if it isn’t already).
I’m going to go back. You should join me!
The Night Heron is located at 228 Nicholson Street, Footscray. Discover its cool activities at www.facebook.com/thenightheronbar
Pics courtesy of The Night Heron. This article first appeared in the April issue of The Westsider.