This happened a couple of weeks ago. The Rochester Castle has closed after the tenant was apparently unable to pay the rent. Does Fitzroy have too many pubs? Are pubs out of fashion with diners and drinkers? The last pub to experience problems was the nearby Marquis of Lorne, but they seem to be trading again. What pubs do you visit regularly, and what do you think of them? Are other Fitzroy pubs struggling?

rochesterclosed the Rochester Castle has closed

the Rochester Castle has closed

13 thoughts on “the Rochester Castle has closed

  • 19 May 2014 at 1:39 pm
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    I went to the Nth Fitzroy Arms and our party was the only diner at 6.30pm on a Sunday night! A once great local pub that captured the local imagination and that was synced into the locals now destroyed by lowest common denominator business strategies (conflict in terms there). If they couldnt see it then, the new owners probably won’t see it now. I bet they blame the economy! Never want to see a business fail as it affects so many on the other side, but I agree with your question – pubs loosing touch with what customers want. Make it good and make it relevant. What is it they say “businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”

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    • 19 May 2014 at 2:33 pm
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      I was really only referring to Fitzroy itself, as North Fitzroy has a different mix of drinking and dining venues. The Arms has been struggling for a couple of years now and was offering discount vouchers a while back – a sure sign of failure in progress. The Lord Newry and the Tramways seem to be doing well but I don’t know about the others.

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  • 19 May 2014 at 1:54 pm
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    I’m not sure whether any other Fitzroy pubs are experiencing financial difficulties, but I would observe that there is a wide degree of differentiation in what the pubs of Fitzroy offer. I don’t think its enough anymore just to take up a licence and hope that you’ll turn a dollar pumping our Carlton Draught to the thirsty hordes.

    When I moved here I undertook to have a drink in every Fitzroy pub. The problem is that you tend to get comfortable with your local favourites, so to date the Tankerville Arms, Royal Derby, Perserverance and Commercial Club are still to be crossed off my list (the Commercial Club has a loyal following, the other three I can probably live without).

    My two allround favourites are the Rainbow and the Napier. Friendly places with good beer and food- and often packed.

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  • 19 May 2014 at 6:40 pm
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    Some are still doing well, but I think the emergence of more cheap eats in the area definitely affects business, I used to regularly eat out at a few local pubs like the union club and the standard, but instead now I would more likely goto po boy or huxtaburger.

    A lot I think comes down to how it’s managed, and the cash flow, the more established places obviously have a better long term plan and bank balance?

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    • 19 May 2014 at 6:47 pm
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      This is my theory too – that many people are bored with parmas and other pub staples and are eating Americana and other things at the moment.

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  • 20 May 2014 at 1:16 pm
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    Another Fitzroy bar bites the dust. Just walked past the Slowpoke on Gertrude St and noticed the windows are papered over.

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    • 20 May 2014 at 1:36 pm
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      Slowpoke on Brunswick St? Or did you mean Southpaw? That has been closed since March.

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  • 20 May 2014 at 1:56 pm
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    Sorry, yes Southpaw. We walk past it a few times a week, but have been OS for a couple of months and hadn’t noticed it had gone until we noticed the windows were papered over.

    PS- Brian, when did your website start to bounce comments on the basis of their sentence construction? A couple of times I’ve had them bounce with a message “Comments Must Be In English”. Is this new?

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    • 20 May 2014 at 2:02 pm
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      I’ve got a post on Southpaw coming in a couple of days. Thanks for the feedback re the language in comments. I gets hundreds of spam posts a day even with Akismet running, and about half are in Chinese or Japanese, so I am testing plugins that block comments with Chinese or Japanese in them. Are they blocking legitimate comments? I may have to turn them off.

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      • 21 May 2014 at 5:12 pm
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        My posts didn’t have any of foreign language characters, but I think a common factor was that they had….between the thoughts, rather than a fullstop/new sentence/capital letter.

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        • 21 May 2014 at 5:36 pm
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          Thanks and good to know. I’ve turned those plugins off.

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  • 21 May 2014 at 9:34 am
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    I was at The Standard on Saturday just gone, hadn’t been for a few years. It was as packed as I always remember it being. Good pub.

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    • 23 May 2014 at 1:37 pm
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      At the risk of sounding like an old fart, it is the cost of alcohol (esp beer) in pubs that is leading to the demise of the Fitzroy boozer. Most people just can’t afford more than one night a week out on the turps. I suppose you could say its just a sign of the times but in NSW and SA an inner city drinks are around 20% cheaper. I am not blaming the landlords as the rents at most Fitzroy pubs are very high and if there is no pokies then where you gonna make a buck? The model is currently flawed and further closure are sure to happen unless you can transform your ‘pub’ into a burger/pulled pork/ mexican eatery with a broad drinks list.

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