Rather than shaking its fist at the youth and going the way of the dinosaur, famous old Marrickville boozer Vic on the Park has reinvented itself as a new community hub. These days it embraces music, art and weird sports with the same ferocity that it once gave to Tooheys and the ’Tahs (actually, it still does that too), and the joint’s enthusiasm is proving infectious.
Now simply called the Vic, the bright front bar still shows footy on multiple screens, serves jugs of Carlton and holds fast to the kind of dark carpet that hides a myriad of sins. But it’s spacious – really spacious. A whole football team could stampede through on their way to the bistro and you’d barely have to tuck your feet in.
Lucky, because that is precisely what happens here on Saturday arvos. Following a Newtown Jets home game at nearby Henson Park, rugby league fans stream through the doors in search of cold beers and hot pies to accompany their post-game debrief.
Prime real estate at the Vic is out the back on the huge, covered wooden deck with a shady tree at one end and a fire pit for the odd spit-roast lamb at the other. From there you can survey the basketball court/parking lot called the Projects, where mini festivals, basketball competitions, bike polo and hip-hop afternoons take place.
At its core this is still an old-timey pub slinging schooners of Reschs, but they have added some enticing craft beers to the menu too. There’s Fat Yak and Matilda Bay’s Minimum Chips on tap, plus a few lesser-knowns in the fridge like Bowral’s Pigs Fly pale ale and the crisp Pikes Oakbank pilsner from South Australia.
They also stock longnecks of Melbourne Bitter and Tsingtao for the newer Marrickville crowd that have wasted no time in making the fresh-look Vic their local.