MEET: Dean Bruce from The Courty
Back when we were a young spring chicken of a brewery (OK, we are still a spring chicken, but back when we were an even springier chicken), The Courty was on the receiving end of some of the very first kegs that rolled out our brewery doors. They were also the first place to pour Newtowner. So as we celebrate another trip around the sun, we thought it would make sense to corner Dean Bruce from Newtown stalwart The Courty for a chat. Plus, we were all ready to get the dirt on any doping scandals within their famous crab racing but Dean assures us it’s just good clean fun.
The Courty is an Inner-Western icon. Tell us a bit about the history of the pub?
It's always been a great pub, I remember first going to the pub about 16 years ago, ordering a vegie burger and sitting in the beer garden with a beer and you had to wait for the lady to call your food number out over a microphone. The Courty has always been a local's pub and everyone feels at home here. Hayley from the Jezebels used to work here, last year we got Time Out's - Pub of the Year!
We get to support a lot of people via the pub, we are always doing fundraising events here, I think this is one of the things about the pub that appeals to people. That and its open layout, it's got a little bit of laid back Queenslander house vibe going on with its 2 beer gardens, awesome bar, pinball room and a bistro serving great food. And it's loved, worn-in feel...The Courty will never change, this is what we are.
What’s the most controversial thing to ever happen in the history of crab racing at The Courty? Any major spills or scandals?
Crab racing is good clean fun, no one runs off with the crabs or anything. Bingo on a Friday morning can get a little heated if BINGO is called at the same time....but dramas, we have had a part of the roof collapse and flooded inside the pub half way through Anzac day before, due to heavy heavy rain, that killed that day. I remember seeing Instagram footage of Australia Street looking like a snow field. The Courty in general, as busy as it is, runs really well and smoothly and doesn't attract too many scandals or troubles. Everyone is so accommodating when something goes wrong, we had to close the kitchen for a week or two last year to update some equipment, and people just adapt and go with it. We set up an outdoor canteen/kitchen and sold nachos. People still loved it.
Sitting in the beer garden at The Courty is one of the most quintessentially ‘Newtown’ ways to spend an arvo. What’s your ideal Newtown day?
These days it's all about my son and getting out of the house to Camperdown park for some play time, getting a coffee from the 212 blu guys [cafe a few doors down], then working the night. Being able to hang out with my wife and son while running a pub is a balancing act. I guess the ideal day in Newtown starts with some good coffee, getting to a park so my son can play. Sydney park is really good to walk around. They have done an amazing job with that park. Cook some food at home, visit some friends.
What’s the best story that you’ve heard from a bar fly or witnessed from behind the bar?
Too many stories...I remember none of them.
What’s your go-to album or track to kick off the vibe for the night?
A bit of classic rock from the 60s or 70s has always hit the spot.
Is there an album or track that’s the go-to for closing up shop at the end of the night?
Depends on who's working, but not as much rock as I like.
What bar out of pop culture would you love to drink at?
The bar on the cover of Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door.
Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door (six variations of the cover)
If ‘last drinks’ get called on planet Earth, what are you drinking?
Tinnie of real ale.... or a really nice glass of red wine, nah both!
What was the first gig you ever went to?
Maybe Frenzal Rhomb..??
What was the last gig you ever went to?
You Am I at the Enmore Theatre, I think? I've got the worse memory for this kind of stuff.