376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Moonee Valley / Punters Club)

Moonee Valley Hotel

“The hotel building, although opened in 1865, is basically Early Victorian in character with its plain wall surfaces and conservative window trimmings. However, the semi-circular arch over the main doorway complete with a miniature head on the keystone is typical of the late 1870s. The parapet was added to and ‘improved’ later on in the 1920s.” (Hotels in Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola A Piccolo, 1971)

The Punters Club

Image from Beat Magazine

This venue later became the Punters Club in 1987, renovating the Moonee Value Hotel. This was the work of Rob Guerini and Ric DiPietro, who envisioned an exciting live music venue.

The venue was amazing and launched the career of many musicians. One such muscian was Angie Hart, from Frente, who started hanging out at the Punters Club in 1988 (she was just 16) and when noticed she was politely ejected by Simon Austin who was an aspiring songwriter. They eventually connected musically to create Frente!. The Club would put on new music bands including Magic Dirt, Something for Kate, You am I,Spiderbait, Guttersnipes, the Fauves, the Hollowmen etc. The venue closed in 2002 as a result of rising rents that made the viability of the venue untenable. (The Age, 26 Nov 2010) and (Beat Magazine)

Bimbo Deluxe (Pizza Bar)

From 2002, it has been Bimbo Deluxe Pizza Bar, the site was engulfed in fire in May 2018 and when it reopened in 2019, it became Bimbo. The inside is largely unrecognisable though it said true to the original layout and has been designed by Rabindra Naidoo. The couches were replaced with pink fibreglass booths, the bar is a big American oak horseshoe and underfoot is black and white tiles with brass detailing. The colours are bold and a DJ booth was added in firery pink and purple flames. (Broadsheet, Melbourne December 2019)

During the pandemic over 2020 and 2021, it has been closed.

Kewpie

In April 2021, the licence and lease was sold to the Australian Venue Co (who also own the Perseverance).

On November 8, 2021, Kewpie, named after the big Kewpie doll on the buildings exterior will reopen. They are hoping to keep it much the same as it is today, so the $5 pizzas remain. (Broadsheet, Melbourne, 18 October 2021)

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