It’s kind of funny to think about, because it all seems so long ago, but for most of The Prick’s time in Australia, Bondi Junction was home, or actually, a number of homes: There was the run-down terrace owned by a prominent environmental campaigner who himself enjoyed harbour views from a palace in Vaucluse.
There was the tiny semi where the next door neighbours, Wayne, Lorraine and their daughter Charmaine (true story) would sit outside in the back yard from 11 in the morning until well after 11 at night getting drunk, arguing, and playing a CD of novelty songs over the outdoor speakers. I still cannot hear “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” without breaking out in hives.
There was the far (relatively speaking) grander semi that followed and, after various catastrophes and calamities and the receipt of walking papers, the high-rise chicken coop down the street to which The Prick beat a de Gaulle-like strategic retreat. Built by dodgy Russian developers, at least one of the two lifts was guaranteed to be broken at any given time.
And through it all was the Cock & Bull Hotel, which the Daily Telegraph reports is now selling steaks for the grand sum of … $0:
The Cock and Bull Hotel in Bondi Junction is now offering patrons a “$0” steak or schnitzel on Thursday nights, rising to $1 on Fridays.
But as they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch – and there’s no exception here.
To get your free steak you have to buy a drink for a least $4. If you want chips and salad as well you have to scratch around for another $1.70.
And if you want a sauce on top it’s another $1.50.
Yet even with the drink and trimmings, it’s still less money than you need to feed into the parking meter out the front of the pub for a two-hour stay.
A friend who lived in the area when the Cock opened up tells the story of driving by, thinking, “Hey, I wonder if that’s really an authentic Irish pub?”, and, on cue, seeing the door swing open just as a fist met a chin.
“Yep, real Irish pub alright!”
I went in a few times over the years; it’s patronised almost entirely by homesick Irish backpackers. Once I went in when there was a band playing, and I realised they were singing an IRA anthem. I left before they started passing the hat for the Provos.
Another night a date and I struck up a conversation with the bouncer, a large, affable Islander who said that this was the only bar he’d ever worked where the patrons weren’t always on the make, because they were all too busy getting drunk. (At closing time, the cops rocked up to ensure an orderly departure).
In a state of penury, I think I once had a steak there, but it was, from recollection, shoe leather. How anyone could rate the place is beyond me.
But now, not even a free steak could lure the Prick back to that hole.
I lived opposite that pub for several years. Never ate there, but the beer was always cold and the atmosphere was always hot. The Cock and Bull was the tamest pub in the Junction – the Tea Gardens was the place for fighting.
Only by comparison to some of the local offerings was the Cock salubrious — you’re right about the Tea Gardens, certainly.
The best food in the junction was to be had at the hot dog stand outside the Tea Gardens at around 2am. Big, fat pork sausages, a toasted bun and lots of well cooked onion and cheese on top. I woke up on my couch with a stinking hangover at 5am on a lot of Saturday mornings with one of those half eaten things congealed on my chest and Rage blaring from the TV.
Sadly, those hot dog carts seem to have been chased away.