MEET: Olivia Hosking from The Lucky Shag

Get your mind out of the gutter, not THAT kind of shag. This Perth bar is named for the resident cormorants who hang out round the jetty. These birds know what’s up, The Shag occupies one of the most primo waterfront positions in town. Olivia Hosking’s been enjoying the scenery for seven years now but we chose a week where she was really busy overseeing some renovations to give her a Young Henrys grilling. To be fair, it was more of a gentle sauté …

Tell us a bit about the history of The Shag…
The Shag has been around for 18 years which we are pretty proud of, it has changed a heap since then though, it was really small when it first opened and most of the venue was inside, and over the years and 3 major renovations it has become the massive 800 person venue it is today. We have hosted the ‘Barmy Army,’ I think it is 3 times now, which along with our location has made us a pretty popular tourist destination!

Fairly enviable position you have there at the Shag. What’s it like trying to work with those idyllic views bothering you?
It’s a real hassle walking into the venue at 8am when the water is still and the sun is shining! I have been at The Shag for 7 years now, and I really think that the main reason I have been there so long is that it really is a beautiful spot to work, and you get to feel like you’re outside all day long, which is awesome (but it does get a bit hot on the 40 degree days.)

What’s the best story that you’ve heard from a bar fly or witnessed from behind the bar?
Once we had a woman call up, she had gone through her husbands‘ credit card statement and found “The Lucky Shag” on it, she was calling to find out what kind of business we were. I’ve also had a guy on a Friday night come up to the bar and he had dropped his wedding band down the decking below his table, he was freaking out because he had told his wife he was working late, but was actually at the pub with his work mates, luckily for him we managed to fish it off the concrete slab below with a coat hanger!

What’s your go-to album to kick off the vibe for the night?
I’d usually put on one of the last 4 years of Triple J hottest 100. It gives you a good mix of everything!

Is there an album that’s the go-to for closing up shop at the end of the night?
I must admit I’m not at the venue at close that often these days, but it would definitely be Bob Marley & the Wailers –Legend. There is nothing like a bit of Marley to put me in a good mood at the end of the day.

And if you weren’t running a pub, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t running a pub, I’d either have my own business, maybe a Café or I’d be a Horticulturalist. I have a nerdy love of plants.  

You’ve got a day off (woohoo!), what do you do around Perth? Pls spill your local insider secrets…
The Beach with my dog is one of my favourite things to do on my day off, but besides that Perth now has some awesome venues, there are some great places to go for a drink in Northbridge and the city these days, Mechanics Institute in Northbridge is one of my favourite places for a beer. Freo is also one of my favourite places to spend my day off, there are some great shops in Freo.

What’s your favourite bar out of pop culture? 
I really don’t have a favourite, but I watched La La Land recently and Seb’s is really cool, I really like the idea of small Jazz clubs, I feel like it takes you back to a different time.

Last drinks get called on planet earth. What’s your tipple of choice?
I’d have a Pint of an IPA, if I couldn’t have that I’d have a G&T.

For those who mightn’t know, the Lucky Shag refers to Lucky the resident cormorant. What’s your own spirit animal?
I’d like to think it would be a bird, but not a shag! Maybe some kind of Hawk.

Has Lucky ever got up to mischief in the pub?
The Shags that are around are pretty chilled, and usually we only see them if they are up sunning themselves on the Jetty, but I have had a black Swan walk into the venue late one night just before close, there was no one inside and he walked in the front door all the way to the entrance to the bar, I freaked out and luckily on of the locals saved the day and walked him out!

What’s the first gig you ever went to?
It was a Coldplay concert, and it was amazing!

And the last?
Flume, he was awesome.