Monday, August 4, 2008

The Quarry

There's a lot of different ways to approach life - there are people who quite openly take their cash into Sanity and buy a Chris Brown CD. There are people who choose year in year out to pay for a membership of the Fremantle Dockers. There are people who do horrible things to people sleeping on buses. There are channels willing to put Caroline Wilson on TV, channels that are willing to make Jane Gazzo an authority on music. There are people who still pay for music, people who still watch Channel 9, people who cross four lanes in the rain just to try and get a green light, people who actually know what that American Boy song is actually about, people who enjoyed Gigli - and there are people who choose, with our admittedly limited choice of drinking venues, to walk through the doors of The Quarry, and enjoy a drink there. These are people I don't understand, for it is a strange, somewhat bizarre pub sitting awkwardly in Salamanca near more traditionally fun pubs like Irish Murphys (OK, maybe the good thing with the Quarry might me you can be gently sick and not evicted?) or Knopwoods. Hobart pubs are all generally a bit mental, the sheer lack of options tending to drive the clientele a little bit stir crazy, but the Quarry is the most mental of all our pubs. Maybe it's me, but I'm always genuinely uncomfortable there - now, the most uncomfortable I've ever been was my 10 minutes in Curleys Bar (I don't know if that place is still open, but I was way too white for that place, Hobart isn't the place to open Flo-Rida's underground disco), but this place...well, it's like it's got it's own mad set of rules that only become apparent after a few visits. If you are a tourist heading to our lovely isle of Tasmania, I like to think this might be some kind of guide to help you on your travels - I had two visitors from Scotland over last year, and I sent them into Salamanca on their own, and they came back defeated everything was shut. Never fear, the Quarry will always be a special place for you tourists to go and get accquainted with local customs. Not Customs the bar...local cust...never mind...

Firstly, if you can get past the bouncers with the short man syndrome, there's the bar staff. The bar staff hate you. This is patently clear, as they are Hobarts 2nd least friendly bar staff (the semi legendary comatose grump at the Welcome Stranger continues to hold his crown to the sun like a God) and they absolutely hate you. I admit, at my age I expect young bar staff to look past me and see who else is around, I'm not Sam Newman, I'm not sad or anything, but at Customs, they are well versed in friendliness and cheerfulness. Some of them even ask you what the football score is - they really don't care, but they at least make the effort. However, and no one else saw this so you'll have to take my word for it, the only person I've ever seen one of the bar staff even acknowledge was a guy who produced a membership card for the Young Liberal party, and to my knowledge, got a 50% discount. The two things might not have been connected, but it's no wonder that as someone who actually thought Kevin Rudd would fix the country (well, I tried) I felt uncomfortable being at a bar encouraging Young Liberals. Besides, why wasn't he at Bar-Cel-Ona with the rest of the party? Banned probably. The clientele hate everyone in there as well, creating a vague Gossip Girl feel. OK, now I can see why I don't fit in, in my Lisbon Lions top. That's not very Greenwich village.

However, that's all just tedious background to the real mystery. Sure, there's nothing but imported beer on the menu (ask for a Boags, see how you go), awkward trendy couches, people playing Gabrielle Climi like she's not just this generations Tina Arena (the Potbelleez being this generations Radio Freedom) but some kind of visionary, and the backyard courtyard is a nice touch, loving the concrete decor outside. The toilets have a window so when you pee, you can look out and see what's going on but no one can see in, which is incredibly dis-orientating, especially I'd imagine if you were drunk (although for me, it's like Central, one drink and out, that kind of place). However, this is what I've been wondering, but it's something everyone seemed to know before I did, and seems to know if I tell them - apparently the club is split into three, a bit for friends (that'd be where the couches are), a bit out the back for straight people (the courtyard) and, apparently, the corridor between the two is the gay bit? I didn't know this until someone told me, and I'm glad gay people in Hobart have a hangout, but I would hope if this isn't just akin to Paul Medhurst and Alan Didak had a fight over shampoo last week, and a pointless rumour, that Hobarts gay community could have a better place to hang out and meet each other than the corridor at the Quarry that's just outside the toilets. What about the bakery in Salamanca Square? Maybe that's more of a first date place. I just found it really weird...but apparently, everyone is happy with this arrangement. I guess it's better than meeting up with Forrest Gump at the Welcome Stranger.

Perhaps most bizarrely though, the first time I went in there, having absolutely no idea about the place, I learned all the rules very quickly. Gay middle corridor, got it. Toilets with a glass window, fine, bit freaky if I was drunk, no worries - bar staff are a bit grumpy, OK, they outright hate me, next time I'll go to the Welcome Stranger, that sounds like a fun place, maybe if I was a young liberal I'd be OK. At least the bouncer with the short man syndrome let me in, I might actually get used to all the quirks, but what's with the imported beer? 7 bucks a pop? For 7 bucks I'd at least expect you to look at me bar service provider. However, when I sat at the couch, for no reason at all, there was a Justin Davies Select 2006 card on the table, almost sat on the table like a place card. This might not mean anything to you, but I was captivated, being a card collecting afficionado, and I was bewildered as to how something as common as a football card (I'm sure there's no way I could chat up any of the clientele by asking them about Justin Davies and his unfulfilled potential at Carlton) came to be in the middle of the Quarry with the Gossip Girl clientele. I like to imagine it was the work of some kind of Hobart satirist, who then went on to put a copy of Vogue on a table at Customs and a Che Guevera poster on the wall at Bar-Cel-Ona. What was really weird about this was, I had all these expectations that this was some kind of oddity, and I swear to god, this girl walked past, looked at the card, and offered me ten bucks for it. What is it with cards of all kinds at The Quarry? Is using them some kind of sexual code? Maybe that's another mystery along with the gay corridor.

It's a strange place The Quarry...but don't be scared tourists...bring your cards...

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