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Friday, 11 January 2013

Ponyfish Island

This bar reminds me a lot of Sydney. I realise to native Melburnians, that is no praise at all. BUT, it is really cool - actually a favourite of mine - and the only reason it reminds me of Sydney is because it is completely surrounded by water. There are so many bars in Sydney with water views - bugger it, so many of EVERYTHING with water views - that it becomes ingrained. I was so used to the space, the air, the freshness, and the movement of water, that no matter how many awesome laneway or rooftop or hidden Melbourne bars I visit, there is something in me that always breathes a sigh of relief when I sit waterfront, nestling a beverage.

But Ponyfish Island (under the Yarra Pedestrian Footbridge, between Flinders Street Station and Southbank - enter via the stairs) is cool in many other ways, too. And when I say 'cool', I mean full-on, hipster-y, so-hot-right-now-even-though-it's-been-around-for-a-while, we-don't-serve-wine-in-wine-glasses cool.

Here are some of the better points about Ponyfish Island:

  • Smiley, friendly staff. Usually also quite good-looking. (Bonus!)
  • Good music, on the whole. Often loud. 
  • Young, funky crowd. Often with accents (possibly travellers, due to the Flinders Street proximity??)
  • Water views. ALL around. Tick. 
  • Great food: toasties, burgers, BBQs, quesadillas, etc. 
  • Nice bouncers. (You have no idea how many places I hate going to, because the bouncers are wankers.)
  • Unique. Do you know of any other bars underneath a footbridge, wrapped around a pontoon? Didn't think so. 
  • People-watching. Both on Ponyfish itself, and back towards Southbank. Did someone say tourist?
  • You never want to leave, it's so pleasant. And they don't make you. 

Here are some of the not-so-great points about Ponyfish Island:
  • You're always scared you will drop your phone/wallet/drink over the edge into the water. (I always forget to ask, but I'm sure this must happen *all* the time.) Just FYI, I haven't done this. Yet. 
  • Sun exposure. They have umbrellas and undercover areas, but I always manage to get sunburnt. It's probably just me.  
  • Being photographed by tourists on Southbank. 
  • The wines could be better. 
  • There's always a queue at the bar. Because it's TINY. 
  • Unisex loos are a good idea in theory, but they're a bit skanky, and the towel thingies never work. Also, I'm too short for the mirror on the back of the door! 
  • The location can be a bit hard to find, if you've never been before, or to explain. 
  • If you're sitting on the eastern side of the island, you will be constantly moving out of the way for staff moving beer/bottles/rubbish around. Guess that's because the bar area's pretty small? 
  • When sitting along the edge, the wire fence thingies have been all bent out of whack from people leaning all over them, and the stools can be uncomfy. But who cares - there's WATER! 

And now, for the PICTURES! Yay. 

Half-eaten quesadilla. This doesn't do it justice

Princes Bridge at dusk, from Ponyfish Island (looking east). Purrrrrrrrty.

Princes Bridge / the Yarra / Southbank at night, from Ponyfish Island

That should be enough to convince you to go! Just don't hog all the tables, 'kay. See you there.

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