Julep Lounge Canberra’s most influential bar?

johnboy 18 October 2009 29

I’m given to understand that Manuka’s Julep Lounge is a bit of a watering hole for the fashionable young women of the Canberra Times.

Which might explain why Jessica Wright is all over that cocktail bar being named as the only Canberra establishment on a “list of Australia’s 50 most influential and celebrated bars of the past decade”.

(It would be nice to know which list this is, who compiled it, and who paid for it)

Now I’ve got nothing against the Julep Lounge. It’s very nice, the cocktail menu is interesting and they execute it well.

But I do wonder about whether any other Canberra bars have perhaps been overlooked here.

I don’t know if it still goes on but the machinations of Wednesday night karaoke at the Kingston Holy Grail during sitting weeks used to be quite something.

Your thoughts?


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29 Responses to Julep Lounge Canberra’s most influential bar?
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BungleX BungleX 1:37 am 23 Feb 12

Thoroughly Smashed said :

So does this place have a website that hasn’t expired?

Zorros has a facebook group. In memory. Seach for Zorros/Zorrro’s

BungleX BungleX 1:34 am 23 Feb 12

Jungle Jim said :

+ a billion for Zorros!

I loved that bar. And if I ever needed a break from the extra heavy drinking and loud music (for whatever reason) the Bourbon Bar was only a few steps away and always more than accommodating.

Sweet! Yeah I went there too, that was in the later years of Zorros after it got live bands I assume. It started as underage hangout, 1 in 3 were under age as it used to be a youth club of some sort before. Then ID’s started getting checked randomly around pub but only once and manager/bouncer would remember (so a lot of underages slipped though by already being regulars by time ID’s were cheched and never got asked but slowly they asked more n more and then decided to put bouncer on the door, a new bouncer, so he would ask everyone and people couldn’t say “come on, you know me im here all the time, just forgot my ID tonight” as many did. That’s when I could get in (if really had no ID and new bouncer) or anyone else in if I wanted. I would just call Sue (manager) from front door someone would pass my call along to another regular who would call Sue and point at door and Sue would smile and nod and mouth yes. I never knew if that was her saying I was OK or if it was the person I was vouching for, the bouncer would point at other person so she must of just trusted my word. That was the family side of Zorros, letting me pour my own beer from tap when I thought no one was looking and I was drunk, no way I could have gotten away with that like I thought. Won so many $50 dinner certificates for Montezuma’s from doubles pool comp the Montezuma’s blonde waitress would remember me and my mate by name and slapped my ass on a few occasions even got a close up magician that performed on and off to come in 1 hour early just for us couse we were interested.. Family.. Montezuma’s was owned by same guy as Zorro’s but no one ever saw him as he hire Sue to manage bar and she shake you upside down if she thought you still had 10 cents, she was always scheming to make the Bar more money and that’s shy it went from half full on a Friday to eventually waiting lines on a Wednesday and charging cover charge too.. But that same money chasing killed Zorros too by things like charging 20cents for water, officially for the clean glass as it is illegal to charge for water. If you handed your beer glass to bar tender they wouldn’t fill with water cause “it was a Health and safety issue”, same with filling up in toilet so you had to pay. Cover charges and these sorts of things eventually scared away the regulars. Then 6 months later the passer-bys slowly stopped coming cause the regulars weren’t there any more and they gave the place atmosphere. It was then sold and became “Shooter night club” and kept the exact same furniture and pool tables and paint and layout etc. It never really took off it was just a cleaner copy of Zorros.

For a while there this other club nearly exactly other side of the the road and downstairs underground had Strippers on Thursdays (I think) and it was free entry but they had just 3 strip acts over the whole night. Since they were like at 10pm, 11:30pm and 1pm approx and had expensive drinks (how they paid the dancers) we used to be at Zorros all night and go to the other club couple mins before each strip and leave right after back to Zorros.. I got busted sneaking a beer out but they beer was from Zorros and I had snuck it in too! Other influential bars are – (the person that asked what is meant by that – They mean influential on peoples own lives) The Phoenix Bar, The Avenue, Heaven Asylum, Terminus and more. The Private Bin was a laugh, got my ass pinched climbing the stairs 1 min into my first visit there, had no idea who did it coz so packed and the whole place was a sleazy meat market, shivers just remembering. Anyway I lived at a place called Havelock house and it was 5 minutes walk from the Civic bus interchange so goinf home was easy and often I would wake wnext to someone who’s name I didn’t know so my flat mates got so used to it they would introduce themselves to any girl there in the morning so I could overhear their name. That and having uncontrollable outbursts at the bottle shop, an hour after waking, as I remembered all the stupid stuff I had done the night before made me realise I had a drinking problem. Up at 2pm drinking by 4pm (Hair of dog beside bed of bourbon and coke warm and flat and when up 2 long necks beer from bottle shop to forget night before) housework and daily activities till 8pm then of to Zorros till 4am then either home or if alone often go to Avenue on other side of block as it was open till 7am. Home to bed wake at 2pm start all over… Don’t drink any more, haven’t for many years thankfully.

buzz819 buzz819 6:05 pm 22 Feb 12

Thoroughly Smashed said :

So does this place have a website that hasn’t expired?

The thread is 3 years old, I doubt the place even exists anymore.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 5:35 pm 22 Feb 12

So does this place have a website that hasn’t expired?

devils_advocate devils_advocate 3:04 pm 22 Feb 12

+1 googolplex for zorro’s.

Jungle Jim Jungle Jim 2:11 pm 22 Feb 12

BungleX said :

Danman said :

Underage at The Asylum, Terrace Bar and Zorros were all influential to me.

Hell yeah, even though I wasn’t under age at them, I moved to Canberra a week after turning 18 and went out constantly. The Terrace Bar had the ultimate giggs with best bands. The Asylum was a ripper of an idea with their charity of 2 cans of food instead of entry fee if you knew about it. Prodigy. Zorros was my bar for 3 years 6 nights a week. Happy hour collect jugs, pool comp win bar tab or dinner at Montezuma’s, Free beer late at night, always a girl to take home and Sue having mine and the regulars back if any fight argument etc came up (they go, I stay) let alone half the bar having each others back if any of us got into it with a passer by, they didn’t know what hit em. BEST BAR ZORROS BY FAR. Damn they even built up over the years a entry line for and it was just a dingy 110 max person pub with 2 pool tables and lot of quarters being played. The under age years got shut down after cops cracked down but I could still get anyone in without ID just by telling bouncer and if he still weary then call to Sue and she would always just smile and nod to bouncer for me as I built up trust and gave her all my money lol. So why people line up, it was the regulars, it was like “Cheers” the show. You had a family there and you could always rely on them whether going out broke and getting shouted all night or shouting a friend or picking up strippers and Picture magazine centrefolds.

+ a billion for Zorros!

I loved that bar. And if I ever needed a break from the extra heavy drinking and loud music (for whatever reason) the Bourbon Bar was only a few steps away and always more than accommodating.

Disinformation Disinformation 12:28 pm 22 Feb 12

Owning a cocktail bar seems to disable the use, or understanding of the Shift key function.

Deref Deref 12:19 pm 22 Feb 12

WTF is an “influential” bar?

BungleX BungleX 11:38 am 22 Feb 12

Danman said :

Underage at The Asylum, Terrace Bar and Zorros were all influential to me.

Hell yeah, even though I wasn’t under age at them, I moved to Canberra a week after turning 18 and went out constantly. The Terrace Bar had the ultimate giggs with best bands. The Asylum was a ripper of an idea with their charity of 2 cans of food instead of entry fee if you knew about it. Prodigy. Zorros was my bar for 3 years 6 nights a week. Happy hour collect jugs, pool comp win bar tab or dinner at Montezuma’s, Free beer late at night, always a girl to take home and Sue having mine and the regulars back if any fight argument etc came up (they go, I stay) let alone half the bar having each others back if any of us got into it with a passer by, they didn’t know what hit em. BEST BAR ZORROS BY FAR. Damn they even built up over the years a entry line for and it was just a dingy 110 max person pub with 2 pool tables and lot of quarters being played. The under age years got shut down after cops cracked down but I could still get anyone in without ID just by telling bouncer and if he still weary then call to Sue and she would always just smile and nod to bouncer for me as I built up trust and gave her all my money lol. So why people line up, it was the regulars, it was like “Cheers” the show. You had a family there and you could always rely on them whether going out broke and getting shouted all night or shouting a friend or picking up strippers and Picture magazine centrefolds.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 10:34 pm 18 Nov 09

@#19 Dry your eyes, princess. I only counted a couple of negative comments in this thread. You evidently haven’t seen a negative thread in this forum yet.

But if you feel really hard done by, create a Tall Poppy cocktail; one that will get even the most dignified of people totally spasticated.

thejuleplounge thejuleplounge 9:19 pm 18 Nov 09

its clear to me that the people of this forum have no understanding of the hospitality or cocktail industry so I must comment to this forum.

firstly, the “top 50″ was named by the panel of Bars & Clubs Magazine”, a national magazine which was not paid for and they chose their list from their experiences. Bars in this 50 australia wide included hemmesphere, ivy, establishment, gin palace, melbourne supper club, 1806, bayswater brasserie, cafe pacifico, cookie, hugo’s, victoria room, an the list goes on. The “influential” part was what the editors of the magazine determined as to what that particular bar has done – so I guess for the julep lounge – we set a precedence in bringing the diversity of cocktails to canberra. We dont outshine filthys, o’malleys, etc as they are a different field of bars.

although there are many good bars and pubs here in canberra (my favourite is filthys and I own a cockttail bar), julep is the only one constantly in the light nationally so we must be doing something right (and the reviewers do come check out other bars through the years).

to the person who complained it is too loud at the julep lounge – we are not loud – we dont play it at nightclub volume – however a bar still has to have music – not here other peoples conversations next to you – if its too loud for you – you’re too old. you answered your own question when you asked if there are any bars in canberra you can have a conversation with those around you – dont go to julep lounge, trinity, knightsbridge, filthys, parlour, etc on a friday or saturday night and expect it to be a quiet place to talk.

to the people who think julep lounge cocktails are to pricey or expensive – our cocktails range from $12 to $15 – the same as trinity, knightsbridge, hippo, and parlour – cocktails at restaurants and cafes are about $14 so why is julep expensive? we also use premium products in our cocktails compared to other bars ie we use havana rum for our mojitos – havana rum is almost $10 more expensive a bottle than bacardi – which most other places use.

also – we don’t aim for a premium range of beers as we specialise in cocktails. we have a decent small selection similiar to all other bars in canberra.

and lastly – we offered discounted car detailing to help a friend get his detailing busy up and running.

It is quite disappointing to read a forum like this to see the negative attitude towards a venue when the people do not understand or have never been in the game – hence I feel I had to explain a few things.

we dont pretend to be better than anyone else – we do our best at providing high end cocktails of national quality and try to bring them here to canberra. those that enjoy what we do – we thank-you and hope to see you back. those that don’t enjoy what we do – sorry but we cant please everyone – everyone has different tastes but we hope to see you back anyway.

I-filed I-filed 11:37 pm 12 Nov 09

Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot said :

It really isn’t anything special.

Interesting little indicator as to the “status” of the julep lounge is that its business partner offering discounts is a car detailing firm! Now that’s an odd little stable!

Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot 10:48 pm 12 Nov 09

The Julep Lounge is all about location and status.

Personally, I expect any good bar (including cocktail bars) to at least have a semi-decent beer range.

It really isn’t anything special.

ndnl ndnl 9:04 pm 12 Nov 09

i’d like to know what everyone thinks the average price of a cocktail is around town? $13 – $15?

RatsNest RatsNest 12:30 pm 20 Oct 09

Thanks lod, I’ll check it out.

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 9:02 pm 19 Oct 09

Danman said :

Underage at The Asylum, Terrace Bar and Zorros were all influential to me.

Being overage and The Asylum, Terrace Bar and Zorros were all very influential to me. My highlights include seeing Dub War at the Asylum and seeing the Zorro painting move in that fuzzy wiggly way ( you know what I’m talking about).

lod lod 5:12 pm 19 Oct 09

@RatsNest
I’ve always enjoyed the Parlour (http://www.parlour.net.au/)
I tend not to be a cocktail drinker myself but the atmosphere is good and the music a reasonable volume.

mouthface mouthface 4:50 pm 19 Oct 09

It seems that Johnboy’s main concern is whether the article or the list were paid for. Bartender magazine, to the best of my knowledge, is an industry publication and it is distributed to bar operators and hospitality industry insiders. The fact that Julep Lounge made it onto the list probably means that the editorial team at Bartender simply thought it deserved a mention, that’s all. It would have made the Canberra Times because the management at Julep Lounge would have brought it to the attention of Ms Wright, and good on them! Its newsworthiness is fair enough. A local bar gets a mention in a national publication. Nothing wrong with that. As to whether the bar itself meets the obviously high standards of the discerning rabble of riotact is another matter altogether, but I’m fairly confident that the apparently evil hand of paid editorial may not be a factor here. Rest easy you little lefties!
As for myself, I don’t mind the place but unlike RatsNest, I find the place to be a little too quiet. I think it needs a little more bustle than it currently has. The cocktails are pretty good, but they ain’t cheap, and it does attract quite a few young ladies, although most of them seem to be in for a sensible night and a quiet chat with girlfriends. Maybe a few more loose and crazy girls might make it more fun. Or a pole where they can practice their newly found love of the latest fitness craze…

Clown Killer Clown Killer 3:44 pm 19 Oct 09

My understanding was that the list was compiled by industry insiders who were asked to rate the top 50 most influential bars in the country over the last decade. ‘Influential’ can be subjective, but you’d have to read the article to find out how they made ther decisions.

RatsNest RatsNest 1:10 pm 19 Oct 09

Only been to Julep once and didn’t think it rated. The drinks were ok, but the atmosphere was crap. Place too dark and cramped, music not to my taste (I accept that, can’t please everyone) but was way too loud to allow basic conversation beyond shouting in each others ears. Not a pleasant evening and I won’t give it another shot at changing my mind.

Are there any places in Canberra where you can get a decent cocktail and have a conversation with those around you?

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