If Chris Crouch lives in the heart of Melbourne’s music scene then that makes him the aorta. He moved to Fitzroy about 15 years ago when he was running Candle Records, and with local acts like the Lucksmiths and Darren Hanlon on his label he quickly became a regular in the bars around town. “Fitzroy was different back then.
It was like one big share house where you knew everyone, or anyone you didn’t know was an artist or in a band or doing something creative. It’s still like that in a way, but I knew things had changed when I opened the paper and suddenly they were selling houses for a million bucks. It just pushed a lot of those guys further north.”
Crouch bought the iconic Polyester Records on Brunswick St in the late ’90s – “Polyester has always been about supporting local bands. If the live music scene died out I reckon Polyester would go with it” – and after many nights of knocking back jugs and music trivia at the Tramway Hotel in North Fitzroy, about 18 months ago he fulfilled every pub lover’s dream: buying up your local.
When it comes to his favourite hidey-holes, Crouch points out it’s hard for any joint to remain a secret in the age of the internet, “but I love Alimentari for lunch and Pinotta in Fitzroy North is a great little Italian joint no one seems to know about.”
The Tramway Hotel, 165 Rae St, Fitzroy North.
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