Friday night at the Curtin

Friday night at the Curtin
Rhonda Dredge

My friend told me that if you want to meet the critics, you go to the Curtin Hotel in Lygon Street on a Friday night.

I arrived at about five and took up a stool at the end of the bar.

“Are you a barfly?” a girl asked me after my first beer.

I wished I was. The Curtin has a great vibe. Within seconds I imagined myself coming here every week.

“No. Are you?” I replied.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m a barfly at places where my friends work.”

She had her laptop up on the bar and seemed to know everyone.

My second drink was a vodka, lime and bitters. It was delicious. I ordered another.

It was only 5:25pm and I was ready for a third drink. Slow down. A barfly has to sit and linger.

I asked the barmaid, who’s been at the Curtin for five years, if she knew of a group of theatre critics who met here on Friday nights.

“They could,” she said. “It’s very busy on a Friday night. All of the tables are full.”

I was a bit disappointed with her response. “What makes a critic so attractive?” I asked myself.

The answer was easy. They take some time to express their own feelings about something rather than jump on a bandwagon.

A guy arrived in a black hat and an orange scarf. He was quite expressive then he was gone.

His hat was distinctive compared to the usual cap.

I was beginning to enjoy myself. Everyone has been pretty keen to get back to pub life. It was a mistake to think you could track down a particular school.

There were two men with beards at the end of the bar. They’d been there quite a while. They looked like engineers.

It was time to head home. I’d expressed myself at the Curtin and enjoyed the experience of being a barfly.

The Curtin has a great vibe for barflies. You can sit up at the bar and admire the locals. Some were wearing hats, others beards. One had just volunteered at the op shop •

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