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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Plan B, Saint & Rogue, Touche Hombre

It's always hard trying to figure out where to meet a friend from out of town. You want to suggest somewhere near them, easy for them to find, easy for you to get to, a place where you can hear each other talk to catch up, but somewhere with atmosphere so it doesn't feel dull. Plus, somewhere with a touch of Melbourne's personality is always a bonus. It's a true art form!

Unfortunately, Richmond doesn't have these places in abundance. At least, Bridge Road doesn't. (There seem to be plenty more on Swan or Victoria Streets.) My old school friend was here from Sydney with her brand-new husband and the three of us caught up for a 5 o'clock drink last Friday. I suggested Plan B Lounge (274 Bridge Road, Richmond), as it was near where they were staying, and I remembered it being fun and vibey.

When I arrived, no one was there bar a bored-looking bar girl checking her phone among the tacky lighting and loud, outdated music. Inside, the music was so loud conversation was going to be nigh impossible, and the few seating options around didn't exactly look comfortable or inviting. There were tables outside, but no chairs for them - the bar girl informed me the previous ones had been damaged and the new ones hadn't arrived yet, but I could take stools out from inside. So I bought a $5 Happy Hour vino (only good thing so far!), dragged a stool outside (no help offered), and watched the world go past on Bridge Road til my friends arrived. It's a noisy area with a few undesirables hanging around, but there was a semi-pleasant view of the town hall beyond the passing traffic:

Luckily, I was so excited to see my friend and her husband that the not-awesome venue didn't matter so much in the end, and the Happy Hour drinks made us quite Happy. Still, Plan B is less of a destination and more of a necessity. But it is probably better than the shonky old-man pubs that seem to be the only alternatives along Bridge Road.

Following the catch-up, I headed into town to meet friends at Saint & Rogue (582 Lt Collins Street). We had intended to meet over the road at The Bottom End (579 Lt Collins Street), a place I've been wanting to try for a while (their Happy Hour and American-style food sounds quite appealing), but apparently the '80s disco tunes had kicked in a bit early and propelled my friends out. Saint & Rogue was fairly filled with casual office types, beer in hand, and is a darn sight comfier than Plan B with leather armchairs, wooden decor, walls of old-fashioned books, and a much more cosy feel. I enjoyed the few hours we spent there, although the wine choices were somewhat limited and the food a bit overpriced.

We were still hungry, so we jumped a tram to Touche Hombre at the corner of Lonsdale Street and Tattersalls Lane. This place was pumping, with bright, quirky, industrial decor, loud music and attractive staff - not to mention the promise of nachos. It was really very loud, which hindered conversation somewhat, but it was 10-ish on a Friday night in December, so I'll forgive that. I spent a while enjoying the surroundings:

Because it was so late, they were only serving a few items off the menu, so we shared a bottle of wine, some nachos-y thing (Totopos, according to the menu on Urbanspoon) - pretty good, but surprisingly lacking in punch - and some Tostaditos de Pollo (chicken-y things that were deLIcious).

Tostaditos de Pollo at Touche Hombre

I liked Touche Hombre, but would like to go back at a less busy time next time, maybe earlier in the evening on a weeknight. Getting home was a bitch, too - the city was jam-packed, the buses had stopped, trams were sparse. I ended up sharing a cab in a homeward direction with some complete randoms - possibly not the best thing for a single gal to do on a Friday night. I blame alcohol. For pretty much everything. All the time.

Saint & Rogue on Urbanspoon

Touché Hombre on Urbanspoon