Newtown’s little slice of New Orleans still has us under its spell
Before your dreams of playlist domination get out of hand, we should tell you there are no jukeboxes here. But you don’t need one when Pasan Wijesena has programmed a specialty mix of ’90s hip hop, swampy rock and blues for your listening pleasure.
The bar team here is one of the best. You’ve got veterans of the trade like Wijesena and Bobby Carey passing on their skills to a clutch of up ’n’ comers who’ve earned their stripes over long, hard shifts at one of Newtown’s favourite cocktail haunts. There is no rockstar shift – your drinks are in safe hands on a Tuesday or a Friday.
This is a bar you want to be a regular at – they even have merch so you can declare your allegiance to the world – but bar snacks are peanuts or a charcuterie board from Bloodwood across the road. Given you won’t want to relinquish that big table up the back, or the coveted window seat, cocktails can often become dinner here. We’re OK with it. Our livers maybe not so much.
We want to give a gold star to the bar designer – someone put in a lot of time in booze dens before planning the layout, because it all works perfectly – there’s plenty of space for sitting and ordering along the long, dark bar and there’s space to move amongst the tables. We appreciate a little room to booze.
Somehow Earl’s already has the worn-in feel of a Louisiana soul saloon, and it’s only three years old. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s inside an old butcher’s on South King, and they kept the lace curtains and metal grille on the door. Maybe it’s the faces of the famed jazz greats looking down on proceedings under the rusted corrugated iron ceiling. Or maybe it’s just that when you mix talented and friendly staff in a cool bar it’s creates something a magical that you want to be a part of until last drinks are called. It gets us every time.
|Venue name:||Earl's Juke Joint|
407 King St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 4pm-midnight; Sun 4-10pm|