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9° & CLOUDY ON TUESDAY 25 JUNE IN MELBOURNE
By Julia Gaw
August 13, 2014
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General Store & Co.

A down-and-dirty dive where you can sink beers over a coffin or a bowl of coco pops.
By Julia Gaw
August 13, 2014
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When there's a spade in my hand, I'm going to call it. This place is a dive. A friendly one, but a dive nonetheless. And while there are no actual spades here, there are coffins, petrol pumps, old coffee machines, couches, bench seats and a cavity in the wall that serves as an open fireplace. And with grocery items that can be purchased lining the walls amongst a few other random details, it makes for an interesting decor. It's shabby chic — minus the chic.

But while this may not be the kind of place to which anyone with a refined palate or modern minimalist aesthetic would come, its appeal lies with students, backpackers, those with a curious mind, and anyone who comes for a squiz at the newly opened Cat Cafe next door and needs to balance out their soft side with a bit of grunge. The staff here are lovely, and so seems the general patronage.

While the food is limited and pretty much consists of some coco pops and tinned items you can buy off the shelf  (hence the General Store idea), there is a select array of drinks behind the bar. There are some surprises in there, including Lick Pier alcoholic ginger beer, Melbourne's answer to Crabbie's. It's cloudy and sweet (but not too much so) and is simply summer in a short brown bottle — we only wish all Melbourne pubs had it on offer. But, for General Store & Co., it will be a winner on summer evenings in their small courtyard (which, although small, is the hero of the entire place), when the days of crowding around the fire cavity are over. The wine list is limited to a pinot and cabernet merlot, and any kind of 'specialty' offering seems to be lacking.

But, that said, these guys know their demographic. For the early-20s city set, this is a down-and-dirty bar that makes everyone smile. And chat to friendly strangers. Over a coffin, no less.

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