Excitement is in the air. We’re back at our favourite local, shouting at our mates over the speakers, navigating sticky pub floors, and doing the awkward first date meet-ups—it’s good to be back.
And while every state and city seems to have navigated their own version of lockdown, there’s one thing that definitely rings true: no matter where you are, our locals still need our ongoing support.
So, thanks to Bundaberg Rum's Raising The Bar initiative and in celebration of loving your local, we caught up with comedian Becky Lucas to chat about dating IRL, her fave bars and restaurants, and where she’s itching to perform a live comedy show next that’s... well, not her bedroom.
Tell us about yourself and your career; how did you get your start in comedy?
I started comedy about nine years ago in a little pub in Brisbane and sort of just forgot to stop. Since starting comedy I’ve performed in Edinburgh, at the Montreal JFL Comedy Festival and on the Conan O’Brien show in the US. Even though those gigs were really exciting, for most of the year comedians at all levels are honing their material at smaller gigs in venues around town, so our industry really relies on a thriving hospo scene.
Where are your favourite venues to perform?
There’s so many! In terms of my local venues, I love the Comedy Store, The Enmore Theatre, as well as smaller, more intimate gigs like the Thursday night comedy night held every month at the Lord Gladstone.
The past few years haven’t been great—especially for the hospo industry—how can we show our support?
At the moment, I think booking a table ahead of time is really helpful for venues, so they can figure out how many staff they need. But besides that, I think just taking a chance on a new bar or restaurant and taking advantage of the fact that most people are pretty keen to go out. Organise a group and celebrate something, anything, it doesn’t need to be that special. Did your friend resist the urge to get a nose piercing? Great! Head to the pub to celebrate.
You live in Sydney, what are your favourite local restaurants and what are you ordering when you’re there?
Continental Deli Bar and Bistro, the steak tartare there is my favourite, they do it with a parmesan crisp and it makes me go goo-goo ga-gah.
I don’t have any real ‘favourite’ but 10 William Street is always good. I do love the cavatelli and tomato dish just because I’m obsessed with tomatoes that are perfectly ripe—which they always are.
I always go a quarter chicken and chips with the tomato rice on the side at Frangos Charcoal Chicken.
And, I had the Moreton Bay bug at Poly recently and nearly wept with how good it was.
What about your fave Melbourne restaurants to visit when you're touring or when you're home in Brisbane?
Every time I’m in Melbourne I make sure I go to Embla and order the half roast chicken and their insanely delicious fresh bread and butter.
Last time I was in Brisbane I ate at sAme sAme, a fancy Thai restaurant which had a really fun sharing menu, if that’s your thing.
When it comes to your favourite bars, what drinks are you ordering while there?
But if I’m trying to impress someone I would maybe suggest Opera Bar, Cafe Freda’s, Knox Street Bar, or The Old Clare. I am not loyal to any one drink, I’ll always try something the bartender suggests to give me something with full flavour, who cares about the calories.
Any advice on how to prevent early burnout, so we can continue to support our locals long after the novelty of freedom wears off?
Remember that you don’t have to say yes to every offer of going out. There is also no shame in having one and bailing early. In fact, some of my greatest nights out have been the ones where I have dinner, one drink, and get home by 10pm.
We’re all probably a little overexcited to be back in the pub—do you have any tips for nailing the perfect ‘cheers’ sans spillage?
Just keep your eyes on the prize, and tuck your elbows in. No one’s ever won an Academy Award for the most spectacular cheers, so just chill.
We’re finally swapping awkward walking dates, rocking masks and activewear for a real date night at the local—what’s your advice for making this transition with grace?
Pick a bar or restaurant that’s easy for you to both get to and remember to ask questions and then listen to the answer. Don’t check your phone constantly and remember that whilst the world around you might be more interesting after a few drinks, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are being interesting, so take it easy.
Best date night spots for someone looking to really impress their new hot date?
In Brisbane, I would take them to Hope and Anchor in Paddington which is housed in a super cute heritage listed cottage that has a few twists on a normal pub menu.
In Sydney, I would take them to the Opera Bar and watch the sunset over the harbour and share a dozen oysters and a glass or two of Champagne.
And what about your favourite bars for date night?
In Brisbane, I would take them to The End bar or Bosc—both are in West End where I grew up. In Sydney, I like Knox Street Bar or Cafe Freda's, and in Melbourne, I love the rooftop bar at Cookie or Spleen Bar, which is a great dive bar that hosts great local comedy.
What’s your go-to ice breaker when trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger at the bar?
Accuse them of stealing your wallet. Jokes. I think if anything sounds too much like a pre-rehearsed line then you’re going to give off serial killer vibes. Don’t forget the power in a genuine ‘Hey! How’s your night going?’.
In support of Bundaberg Rum's Raising The Bar initiative, we're reminding you, don’t forget your local. If ever there were an excuse to make new memories this summer, it’s by organising a well-deserved get-together and by throwing your support behind new and old favourite venues. We’ll cheers to that.
Image credit: Supplied
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