It’s a hipster pub. No getting around it. But however you feel about the ironic ugly sweater set, it’s hard to turn your nose up at Northcote’s live music hero. Out front is a slightly sticky old mans bar, with Coopers as the main pour, a pool table and bottle shop, and old carpet gently perfumed with sweat and beers. Head out back to the timber deck – it’s the biggest and best-heated beer garden in the ‘hood – for extra space, sun or a smoke. If you like your artists in their awkward/awesome early years, you can’t lose. Emerging and left-of-field musicians get stage time in the 300-capacity band room so it could as easily be one guy playing the keytar as the Rechords. After 10pm you may sight someone pissing in the alley, but before sundown it’s a respectable local. They even have activity bags and mini meals for kids. Grown up eats go beyond the parma and pie frontier – you can get deep-fried brie, vegan dumplings and confit duck with lavender mash if you want to go wild, although we’ve both struck gold and struck out depending on who’s cooking and how busy they are. Consider a pizza from down the road if it’s heaving, or just split your $30 between a jug of Boags and a ticket to that band you totally haven’t heard of.