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Muddy Farmer Hotel karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: Muddy Farmer Hotel


It used to be a workers pub, stuck in the 'V' where Annerley Road split from Ipswich Road, and decidedly rundown. But no longer is it the Annerley Junction Hotel, in a southern, and outer, suburb of Brisbane - for it's now called the 'Muddy Farmer'.

I think this means it's trendy, and the place to spend your nights if you're young and dating. I think this also means it's Irish, so that the food can also have Irish names and higher prices, and so that the beer can offer more alternatives than purely sparking Aussie lager or more sparkling Aussie lager. I think this is the future of Australian drinking establishments, and that the future is here and now.

The bottle shop is in the same place as I remember it, but the rest of the building looks different. It's roots are still obviously in a sprawling building dominating the 'V' in the roads, but the windows are now big and modern, the brickwork fresh, and the roofline tidied and elegant.

And step through the door and the bars are big - high ceilings, multiple floor levels, architectural designs to delight the eyes. What was old is now new, and what is new is now carefully crafted to look old. I don't think the old regulars, if still alive today, would recognise the old place, but of course it is not intended for them.

Instead, there is a new breed of punter - twenty-ish, with high disposible income (albeit courtesy of one of the highest borrowed economies in the world, first and third included), an with expectations of style. The tables are scattered and set for two or three, the alcove bench seating along the window wall is set for parties of two or three couples, and the decoration is that which you could find in any similar old-gone-new pub of this ilk around the world.

And there must be entertainment, for an Irish pub ain't Irish unless someone is entertaining - to be sure! And tonight the entertainment is karaoke, presented by Night Owls Karaoke.

As I enter, I feel like one of a hundred people, no more or less important - and partly because I am probably one of the approximately hundred that must be scattered somewhere throughout this pub comprised of three main areas. The area into which I first enter is higher than the rest of the pub, and holds a few tables and chairs for those who would rather dine away from the noise of the karaoke. Coming down a few broad stairs into the main area with the karaoke, I can see in the distance, and past the little stage that holds the karaoke, another area in which there seems to be a pool table and a doorway out onto the other street. And, round to the left of where I'm currently standing, and up a few more broad stairs, is the ubiqitous pokie machine area with bored looking souls dropping endless coins into slots with a rather resigned expression of disinterest.

But, back in the main bar, the karaoke is just getting going again after what sounds like a little music break. The host is extolling people to put in their requests, and I see people burying their heads into the songbooks scattered around the venue. Very few people here are middle-aged - the order of the night is between 21 and 35, and preferably couples. In fact, preferably hungry couples, as I dodge a pretty young waitress hurrying between tables and laden down with two plates.

The waitresses are efficient. Efficient and friendly, and they're carrying what looks like really nice meals. It seems that almost everyone is eating, or has eaten, or is awaiting food. Low tables and chairs can be rather an inefficient use of space - but not here when everyone is forking out a high dollar value for their temporary real estate.

The singers are rather ordinary, as is the host's style. A rotund gentlemen, the host strikes me as one who could be a ball of fun, but I don't see a smile or a glimmer of enjoyment, and he seems to have made limited or no connection with his audience. Is this because he, and his karaoke, is but one small component of the reason his crowd is here? I don't know, but the connection is not made, and thus the karaoke seems devoid of energy.

The host says the words, but they are standard karaoke 'announce' and 'back-announce' fare, and he stands on the . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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