Brunswick, say hello to Joey Smalls. A little older (and somewhat wiser) than her rowdy CBD brother bars New Guernica and Chuckle Park, Joey Smalls is set up for relaxing summer days in her cosy courtyard or snug winter nights in a booth. In other words, you probably won’t be on the dance floor spilling your vodka sodas all over everyone here. This is a much more casual affair.
At Joey Smalls, the design seems to sit somewhere between American diner and modern Melbourne, though the final result makes it hard to say. A cave-like formation surrounded by polished wood and an Americana specials board results in a strange mix of styles — but it works. An excellent roster of DJ's will likely be playing a range of soul, funk, house or hip-hop most nights of the week with the odd special event or performance.
Huxtaburger are supplying the food with the simple burger menu that Melbourne knows and loves. There are a few surprises thrown in too, such as the okonomiyaki fries ($15), which are covered head to toe in Kewpie mayo, bonito, special okonomiyaki sauce and a sprinkling of seaweed. Regular Huxtaburger prices apply with a burger setting you back $9.50-$12 depending on how fancy you want to be.
Interesting local and imported beers are available by the bottle and on tap. The cocktail menu, while not exactly unique, is full of cheerful classics that won’t break the bank. The Chilli Coconut Margarita ($15) and Passion Palomo ($15) are both tasty options to go with, but it's the wallet friendly Smoke 'n' Stormy ($10) — a twist on the classic Dark and Stormy — that is the crowd favourite.
Licensed until well past your bedtime, Joey Smalls is a welcome addition to Sydney Road.