Time Out Melbourne

Release your inner warrior at the Thornbury laser tag centre, and then debrief over a beer at Joe's Shoe Store

Laser Tag
Big fans of the double entendre and realistic combat scenarios, Tech Assault Thornbury invites you to “stop playing with yourself”, and engage in an epic afternoon of domination and team death matches. Or in other words, to get together with a group of mates and run around shooting each other at laser tag. Letting you get in touch with your inner warrior and outer psychopath, the Thornbury centre runs public sessions where you and 5 mates can simply show up and brutally attack a group of strangers, or private functions where you have the pleasure of shooting your more annoying friends and colleagues. With realistic military style weapons, and high tech sensory devices, this is the tag den of champions, and will give you a workout with that all important component of fear. $20/p/hr for public session or $300 for private group of 10. 338 Mansfield Rd, Thornbury 3071 (03 9005 5824).

Joe’s Shoe Store
This stylish, character-filled little bar, housed in a former shopfront and still using the signage, is Northcote to a T. It’s quirky but not cutesy, loved by locals, and though on the gentrified side retains just a hint of a rock and roll edge.

Taking the old and making it new is what Joe’s is all about. Behind the bar lives a set of decks and a record collection full of surprises, along with a collection of curious ephemera like bowling pins, shoe lasts and fake meat. Vintage light fittings cast a warm glow across the room after dark, and the atmosphere is relaxed. There’s retro-stylish booth seating and plenty of room to perch at the bar, but on warm afternoons the place to be is the beer garden to the rear. It’s surprisingly large – bigger in fact than the building it’s attached to – and plays host to the odd game of bocce in the summer months.

The staff charged with pouring the drinks, manning the decks and keeping things copacetic are a good natured bunch – in the interest of journalistic accuracy, we’re duty bound to point out that they’re also pretty damn easy on the eyes. Cocktails are available on request, but beer and wine are the main attractions at Joe’s: pints are served in steins, which have been scientifically proven to make beer-drinking more fun. Food can be ordered from neighbouring Pizza Mein Liebe and delivered to your table; olives, pistachios and the like are also available as barsnacks.

Joe’s Shoe Store is a great example of Melbourne’s endless love of repurposing and reinvention. Old Joe may be gone, but he’s left the shop in good hands. Upcycling never looked better. 233 High St, Northcote 3070.

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