Will The Phoenix rise from the ashes?

johnboy 27 May 2010 33

[First filed: May 23, 2010 @ 1:23
Second filing: May 24, 2010 @ 8:45]

Phoenix closed

The sign on the door of The Phoenix this Saturday has sent shockwaves through Canberra.

“DUE TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES THE PHOENIX IS CLOSED TEMPORARILY”

Some have been saying the power got turned off. And yet there were lights on inside.

Others would note that the once mighty Phoenix empire of pubs has fallen on hard times with Filthy McFaddens closed and Trinity in Dickson increasingly tatty. Others have heard tales of staff not being paid.

With the crowds that fill the Phoenix every night of the week it’s hard to believe the bar on itself is not sustainable, if the less beloved venues on the same block can somehow stay open.

In any event it will, at best, be a terrible blow to the cultural life of the city if these doors stay closed.

UPDATE: Word reaches us that there was an “electrical issue” and they plan to be open Monday night for the bootleg sessions.

FURTHER UPDATE: Still closed tonight, Bootleg Sessions cancelled.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still closed. If they’re not open tomorrow the Mojo Juju show is being relocated to Trinity in Dickson. =(


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33 Responses to Will The Phoenix rise from the ashes?
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peterepete peterepete 9:19 pm 09 Jun 10

So did it rise from the ashes?

glenroiheights glenroiheights 10:07 pm 27 May 10

Interesting tones of disgust in the conversation so far, which seem, to me, to be missing the point. Regardless of your particular tastes, the Phoenix has been responsible for an injection of life into an element of the community which has prospered because of it. It’s about choice and options is it not? And to have one less option in this city, especially one that supports such a vast range of creative endeavor (be it polished and excellent or half baked and cod ordinary)is a proper problem.

Hadley Hadley 4:46 pm 27 May 10

Okay, now is probably a good time to fly into a panic.

CraigT CraigT 6:49 am 25 May 10

Just out of interest, is the term “white-bread” the only remaining pejorative racial epithet that is still acceptable, or have I misunderstood something?

…always on the lookout for some blatant hypocrisy from the politically-correct mob.

Oh, and BimboGeek? I’m with you. I spent a hell of a lot of time at the Phoenix in my time, but it used to have character without being actually dirty and stinky.
I used to like it because it reminded me of that pub in Melbourne on Brunswick street which had similar mis-matched ex-Vinnies furniture and excellent live music. (Saw Tex Perkins and the Cruel Sea there once).

Hadley Hadley 5:58 pm 24 May 10

It is pretty startling. The last time I remember Phoenix closing was when that insane storm came through Canberra.

Despite people (who I assume don’t go in there, so not sure what the issue is) frantically mincing about the smell or alleged knife fights, the Phoenix holds a really special place in a lot of people’s hearts. They also host 4 live original music nights a week, so they are an enormous supporter of local arts.

Probably flying into a panic when it’s shut is a bit over the top, but at the same time so is readjusting your monocle and huffing a “good riddance, their chairs ruin my silk stockings” or alternatively crushing a VB can on your forehead and huffing “good riddance, they’re all a bunch of wankers” is pretty over the top as well.

Squil Squil 5:47 pm 24 May 10

Wasn’t so much referring to you BimboGeek… but if the cap fits, bite and respond.

Was just getting into the hearty spirit of generalization some others here were engaging in.

BimboGeek BimboGeek 3:40 pm 24 May 10

Squil said :

I’m not surprised some of you white-bread, southern-cross worshipping, safety conscious, one-dimensional, middle-income, wowser bores have a problem with the “character” of the Phoenix.

The presence of dilapidated furniture and funky odours is made welcome by the absence of you.

I’m allergic to bread and I can’t say anyone has ever accused me of being puritanical. I don’t know what any of those other insults even mean. My income is above average, does that mean I can buy another dimension? Or do I have to pay a higher dimension tax and become a point?

The Phoenix is definitely a dive regardless of your skill at confusing me with words. But if you’re determined to hate me because I didn’t fall madly in love with its “character,” I guess you’re welcome to stay there and enjoy the aroma.

Squil Squil 1:48 pm 24 May 10

Ah there we are. The true spirit of Canberra, where the middle-of-the-road, unremarkables leave the culturally devoid countryside, or the outskirts of our major cities to be whinging fish in a small pond. I’m not surprised some of you white-bread, southern-cross worshipping, safety conscious, one-dimensional, middle-income, wowser bores have a problem with the “character” of the Phoenix.

The presence of dilapidated furniture and funky odours is made welcome by the absence of you.

Put your tongues back in their filthy grooves.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 10:50 am 24 May 10

WMC, quite a hole you’re digging – obviously you’ve had at least one beer there, so which are you – neck beard or hipster?

First one, then the other. After midnight I turn into a hairy man-boy hybrid who drinks Tooheys Old, smokes clove cigarettes and has a penchant for buggery.

As for the bar, somebody told me they had Alpha Pale Ale on tap. I went in, drank my pint and moved on to the Wig and Pen. The second and last time I went was for a meeting – it was a weeknight, and my colleagues knew the place would be empty and thus quiet enough to talk, hence my ‘not surprised if it’s broke’ comment.

I’m all for eclectic – there are some fantastic bars in Brisbane that do this well, and closer to home A Bite To Eat in Chifley pulls off the kitschy / relaxed feel to a tee. You can feel at home in a place without worrying whether you’re going to fall through a chair or wondering what chemical you’re going to need to get rid of the smell after you’ve left.

luther_bendross luther_bendross 8:43 am 24 May 10

Oh no not Phoenix! Where will I go now to satisfy my need for pretentious douchebaggery? I know, I’ll go to The Front and drink a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a mans hat.

Seriously Phoenix was/is/will be a great venue for promoting live music, however maybe some new furniture and a bit of Domestos could be applied to some of the existing ‘character’.

CraigT CraigT 7:07 am 24 May 10

Would this have anything to do with the spate of Filthy’s-related stabbings, do you think?

Often, a drinking venue will have to close when it has been targeted by a gang for their nefarious activities.

I, too, used to frequent the Phoenix (and, less often, Filthy’s) and the last few times I went there I was aware of a new dodgy ambience about the place. It was always the case that people would actually meet each other at the Phoenix, have a laugh and get on well – but the place seemed to have been taken over by a very unfriendly clique, probably with mental problems, who looked blankly at you when you said “g’day”. And then they started stabbing people.

Thumper Thumper 2:51 am 24 May 10

…. and the choice is sterile, boring, ultra clean clubs with a thousand jangling pokies and sad two piece sequenced cover duos on a friday and saturday night?

No thanks, but each to their own…

J Dawg J Dawg 11:07 pm 23 May 10

The sign on the door of The Phoenix this Saturday has sent shockwaves through Canberra.

I think you’re confusing ‘Canberra’ with yourself.

Pandy Pandy 9:29 pm 23 May 10

“it looks and smells like somebody dumped the contents of a Salvos shelter into a public toilet block.”

WMC, you sir are a bard

bloodnut bloodnut 8:00 pm 23 May 10

BimboGeek said :

bloodnut said :

you bitchy little snob.

You sound toothless.

In all seriousness, it doesn’t take the bitchiest snob to feel uncomfortable in such a trashed environment. Occasional building maintenance, regular cleaning schedule, fresh coat of paint, replacing old furniture when it breaks, these things are pretty normal but Phoenix seems to ignore them on the basis that its reputation for music will bring people in no matter what the place is like.

its not for everyone. i think during the smoking years were the best as it masked the underlying tang. and even from a live music perspective, the PA is buggered and the layout is awful. i just go where the people are decent and the beer’s cold. if it smells – so be it.

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Sad old f*ckers with neck beards and leather elbow patches mingle with iPhone-toting hipster tragics in Che Guevara shirts, reminiscing about the 70s and 80s over a half pint they nurse the entire evening. If it is broke, I’m not surprised. Having a semi-decent pale ale on tap doesn’t change the fact it looks and smells like somebody dumped the contents of a Salvos shelter into a public toilet block.

WMC, quite a hole you’re digging – obviously you’ve had at least one beer there, so which are you – neck beard or hipster?

or just mild hypocrisy on your part sir?

shauno shauno 7:27 pm 23 May 10

Its great having pubs like that in Canberra. Its the variety of pubs that make the UK and Ireland such good Pub countries. Would be really boring if they were all the same. When I visit Canberra I always make sure I pop by there for a quick pint of two.

krats krats 5:30 pm 23 May 10

Clown Killer said :

I stopped going to the Phoenix not long after they banned smoking inside. Not a smoker myself, but that was one place I didn’t care because it almost seemed fundamental to the ambience of the place. It’s true that it was kind of cobbled together from hand-me-downs and the like but it was a place with character and personality (in part delivered by the toothless hobos that frequented it.

I remember spending an afternoon in there one July in what must have been ’97 or ’98. It was a freezing afternoon and it rained solidly all afternoon – so much so that we settled in for a session that lasted through to closing time. When we finally staggered out into east row it was snowing great white flakes which made the walk home to Lyneham quite special (bloody cold though).

I never get sick of that story.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 5:15 pm 23 May 10

Sad old f*ckers with neck beards and leather elbow patches mingle with iPhone-toting hipster tragics in Che Guevara shirts, reminiscing about the 70s and 80s over a half pint they nurse the entire evening. If it is broke, I’m not surprised. Having a semi-decent pale ale on tap doesn’t change the fact it looks and smells like somebody dumped the contents of a Salvos shelter into a public toilet block.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 3:13 pm 23 May 10

I stopped going to the Phoenix not long after they banned smoking inside. Not a smoker myself, but that was one place I didn’t care because it almost seemed fundamental to the ambience of the place. It’s true that it was kind of cobbled together from hand-me-downs and the like but it was a place with character and personality (in part delivered by the toothless hobos that frequented it.

I remember spending an afternoon in there one July in what must have been ’97 or ’98. It was a freezing afternoon and it rained solidly all afternoon – so much so that we settled in for a session that lasted through to closing time. When we finally staggered out into east row it was snowing great white flakes which made the walk home to Lyneham quite special (bloody cold though).

Mr Evil Mr Evil 2:09 pm 23 May 10

“replacing old furniture when it breaks, these things are pretty normal but Phoenix seems to ignore them on the basis that its reputation for music will bring people in no matter what the place is like.”

Nah, that’s just part of the ‘character’ of the place. There’s nothing quite as fine as sitting for a couple of hours drinking beer out of glasses that look like they were last washed about a fortnight before VE Day, whilst you sit on a chair that looks like it will either, a). fall apart at any moment, or b). has springs that are trying to pop through the top covering and tear you a new one.

Plus, last time I was there, the place smelt like a cross between a violent crime scene and a teenagers bedroom.

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