As any Time Out staffer will tell you, being phenomenally cool can be exhausting. So weren’t we pleased to discover, while tooling around the streets of Fitzroy putting up pasteups and ironically rollerblading or something, a pub which makes a virtue of being a bit daggy.
The Marquis of Lorne, at the corner of Kerr and George Streets, is four winding, pokey storeys of suburban, 70s-style kitsch. The ground floor houses the bar, decks and backgammon board collection; the first floor is home to the dining room and kitchen and the top floor is a glass-enclosed lounge area that leads out to a rooftop deck with views over the suburbs. If you follow the winding staircase down again, you’ll eventually find your way to the den-like poolroom in the basement.
The walls are hung with faded, motor-home quality paintings of stags, landscapes and the like, and coloured glass trinkets are littered around the padded vinyl bar. The Marquis is riddled with hidden nooks and even entire rooms that aren’t immediately obvious – to the rear of the ground floor is what looks like a fully furnished suburban lounge room, frozen in time and rarely used. It’s an odd and delightful kind of place, with fireplaces on every floor in winter and dedicated types making the long trek between the bar and the rooftop all summer.
Food smells waft between rooms and floors, the music selection is heavy on psychedelia and retro rock (Neil Young seems to be a favourite), and eccentrically tonsured staff members can often be found hanging out between shifts. There are lounges and broken-down old armchairs galore, making this a cosy, relaxed spot for an afternoon session.