This is not a drill, Melbourne folk, the pubs are finally about to reopen again. Life is looking a little better. The sky doesn’t seem so grey.

Prepare yourself Melbourne, the next few weeks are primed to get messy. I mean, we’ve already seen the carnage that unfolded when Kmart reopened the first time. Kmart. You read that correctly.

The city’s best bars have been scrambling to get everything ready in preparation of the onslaught of the deliriously happy drunks. You might have been pretending your back garden was a Brunswick beer garden over the past few weeks but it really wasn’t, was it?

As the first several thousand (probably) trickle into the pubs in Melbourne for the first time in the coming weeks, we thought we’d help you out with our handy guide to surviving your first trip back.

First Time Back at the Pub or: How I Learned to Not Lose My Life Savings In The One Night:

Book Ahead (And Not For Your Favourite Place)

That maximum occupancy, on reflection, really doesn’t sound like that much. You know how it is. As soon as the sun peeks through the clouds even a little, as soon as a bar announces its new stylish beer garden, every bloody share house in Melbourne seems to descend on it en masse.

Now imagine the rush after months and months of waiting, particularly for the big boys. We’re talking Howler, we’re talking the Corner Hotel, Naked for Satan. Go for one of those lesser lights of the city for now. As long as there’s cold beer and a few mates with you, the location really doesn’t matter.

And for those terrified millennials who haven’t used a telephone in years, here’s a how-to for making a phone call. You’re very welcome.

Jug Life

Picture the scene. You’re 5 drinks down and it’s not even 7pm. You’re sitting right at the back of the beer garden, surrounded by a haze of rolled cigarette smoke. The path to the bar is as packed as St Kilda beach on a summer’s day. Those horrifying words leave the mouth of your mate beside you: “It’s your round mate.”

Avoid the panic of this situation by avoiding the pints and saving the sweet cocktails until later. Get several jugs in early and keep your table happy for a few hours.


Invite Your Uber Driver 

Designated drivers are a great idea and we condone their use completely (always handy to have a sober friend around). However, the excitement and ecstasy of the pubs being back open in Melbourne might be strong enough to sweep up even the straight edge and teetotal.

They’ve not drank alcohol in 10 years but give them a sliver of freedom after months of watching Tiger King and making sourdough bread and suddenly they’ve got a double whiskey in each hand, their shirt swinging from their head like Rambo’s bandana.

Prepare for this eventuality by inviting your Uber driver as you head there. They’ll want to be relaxing as much as you. Promise them bountiful supplies of peanuts, a superb tip, and make a new friend for life, a COVID-19 story for the ages.

Cash In Hand

Bringing your credit card to the pubs for the first time in months after being locked down in Melbourne would be akin to covering yourself in salami and walking into a lion cage: you’re going to be a sitting target and finished by the end of the night. Strangers standing beside you at the bar are handed a free round. Your mate has now forgotten his own children’s names and is asking you for a third Carlton Draught in 45 minutes.

Just think of the morning after, that fear of checking your bank account online with a Macca’s lying on your bed to the right, your late night half-eaten conquest.

Go old school and bring cash. Set a limit. Bring, what, $60? $260? $350? Maybe don’t trust us on the definite amount…


Bring A Present For The Bartender

Perhaps the only folk not overjoyed at the news are the bartenders. Facing up to long hours in a sweaty room wearing a face mask isn’t the most enticing prospect. It might not be the actual COVID-19 frontline but it’s going to be a war zone anyway.

Remember jostling for space at the bar to make your order? Remember that one idiot who always screams his order over everyone else (usually wearing loafers and a check shirt)? It’s going to be much worse after this long, long absence.

True altruism might be impossible but bring a present for the bartender anyway. A nice box of chocolates. A lovely necklace. Your nan might need to go without a gift this Christmas but she’ll understand.

And hey, they might be so pleased with their present that you’re given preferential treatment amidst the bar madness. Just a thought…

Get in the mood with the Dan Andrews remix ‘Get on the Beers’: