Rochester Castle Hotel, Melbourne, Australia – Review

.tags “Hey, how was your weekend?”

“Yeah, alright, went out with some friends.”

“Where did you go?”

“Can’t really remember, but we ended up at the Rochie…”

Sooner or later in your Melbourne partying life, you too, will find yourself downing some dirty beers and dancing to the demons of cool at the good old ‘Rochie’.

Smack bam in the heart of Fitzroy, this brick-walled-and-wooden-floored drinking hole could possibly be the heart and soul of the North’s indie scene on Friday and Saturday nights.

An aged timber bar stretches from the sticky stooled front area to the dimly lit back area, where the thumping and pumping red walled dance floor throbs with indie anthems and alternative riffs – think Oasis, Dandy Warhols, Arctic Monkeys, and The White Stripes.

Keeping in touch with its weeknight roots of Trivia Nights and Counter meals, a dusty pool table is housed to the very back of the pub, with a leafy smoker’s courtyard opposite, encouraging the coughing of cancer sticks. (Expect to have to line up like a pre-schooler if lighting up on a Saturday night – security staff operate their section of the great outdoors on a 25-people-outside-at-a-time policy.) On the subject of staff, the Rochie certainly knows a friendly face – bar staff can be seen nodding their heads in time to the beat as they pour ciders, wipe heads and shot up ice-cubed glasses with a devilish wink in the eye. If it’s some student-style value your after, a $ 12 jug of Carlton shared amongst friends makes for a cheap and cheerful avenue to the land of drunk.

The grungy, indie theme is reflected strongly throughout the venue – a strong whiff of urine floats from under the crack of the door of the men’s room, while the women’s bathroom possess that unventilated aurora that makes you want to layer the toilet seat in a wad of paper before sitting. Regaining the positiveness in this truly grungy atmosphere for the women’s team is the not one, but four mirrors – No need to fight the bitch behind you to re-apply that red lipstick, black eyeliner and ruffle of the fringe.

The difference between Friday and Saturday nights is rather faint – the only obvious indicator between the two is that Saturday is given the aptly named theme ‘Black Night Crash’ and has a happy hour from 9-11pm including $ 5 spirits. All in all, the Roch is a little unique – not in the way that the floor isn’t slippery and you couldn’t break your neck in heels (because you very well could), and not in the way that you needn’t have to jump to breathe in the crowd (because on Saturday night’s prime, AM drinking time, you very well have to), but unique in the way that this charmingly grungy place is a little…how you say, Triple J-esque – If you don’t know your Karen O’s to your Bloc Parties, you’re in trouble. The Rochie is a place where the indie folk flock, where friends have fun and where individuals, who dont normally dance, do dance.