303 has the kind of op-shop chic that a movie scout would die for. With its wildly eclectic mix of furniture, run down bar, art school clientele and assortment of broken trinkets, it looks like it should be part of a David Lynch movie. Or the setting for a short student film. The point is, the place has character. Sure, half the decor looks like it came from some curb-side collection - but that's part of the charm. 303 has the dank, and it has it in spades.
What it doesn't have is much of an alcohol selection. Ask for a cocktail menu and you'll be met with a blank stare. The same goes for top-shelf liquors. Or anything that isn't a basic spirit, a house wine or a beer. This is a no frills establishment when it comes to the booze. Still, it seems to suit the clientele just fine. Northcote-indie-nerds aren't known for knocking back cocktails, and that's a fairly apt description of the regulars.
While the front room and its lino floor has a certain dive bar appeal, the band room at the back of the building is just plain grimey. There's a small stage set up in one corner and the bookings policy seems to consist of local bands that can't find a house party to play. The couches back here genuinely do feel like they were found down a back alley and it's probably just as well that the lights are kept dim.
303 is obviously geared towards a certain Northcote/music demographic and people appreciate it for what it is; an indie dive with cheap drinks and a lounge room like atmosphere. If that's what you're after, then 303 has it nailed. Anyone expecting cocktails, tapas and a bar account will be in for a rude shock.
Mikolai, May 2008
May 29, 2008
The front bar is an interesting place for a couple of drinks. Its not somewhere I would spend a whole evening.