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Written by on 15 August, 2013 in Bar Reviews, Bars and Restaurant News - No comments

Much was writ­ten, in lov­ing affec­tion and regard­ing barely remem­bered mem­o­ries, at the time of Pony’s demise. Cer­tainly, it was a sad moment; I can’t tell you how many beers I’ve con­sumed and how much dam­age I’ve done to my ears within those dirty walls and in that lit­tle upstairs band room over the years. Still, cities evolve and times change, cir­cle of life, sun­rise sun­set, etc.

So as much as it was sad moment, it was one imme­di­ately fol­lowed by intrigued noises of “Oh, really?” when it became known that the team behind Cookie and The Toff in Town would be tak­ing over the reigns of the iconic (see also: loud, at times slightly smelly, amaz­ing, beloved, at first dif­fi­cult to find when sober) Mel­bourne venue.

Boney (Get it? Pony? Boney? Hurr hurr hurr) is the result­ing bar/restaurant/live music venue, and is what hap­pens when you give the for­mer Pony a good ol’ scrub­bing and a facelift. Sur­pris­ingly how­ever, and to the relief of many, I imag­ine, Boney doesn’t actu­ally look THAT dif­fer­ent to Pony.

While the beat-up old couches, the assorted lamps, and the wooden benches are gone, things are much the same layout-wise. Bar over there, arches there, places to sit over there. Neon red lights hang above din­ers in the main space, and the bar looks much sleeker than it once was; Boney feels at least partly related its Toff in Town brethren. That is, it’s nice to look at, with light­ing that makes oth­ers nice to look at.

Apart from the new fur­ni­ture and fresh facelift (there’s even a faint waft of new-paint-smell in the air), what’s most strik­ingly dif­fer­ent about Boney is the addi­tion of a kitchen, and the result­ing table ser­vice. That being said, and although there aren’t any couches for plonk­ing one­self on, Boney still feels like the sort of place one could spon­ta­neously roll into for a casual beer, with­out hav­ing to gird all col­lec­tive loins for a mon­u­men­tal wait or any “THIS IS A RESTAURANT, PEOPLE” type vibes. Rather, the vibe can be filed under the “let’s hang out, with a beer and maybe a cock­tail” kind of good vibe.

The menu, from the same brains behind that of Cookie, etc, is a pretty-tantalising col­lec­tion of snacks, like tofu mush­room “dig­gity” dogs, prawn sticks, snap­per burg­ers, and dumplings. Boney’s open for lunch and din­ner, and to take away, with an array of daily spe­cials up its sleeve. We tried the pork belly sausages (sausages good, lentils could’ve used a bit more of some­thing), and the night’s spe­cial of pie-and-a-beer (#omnom­nom). After mak­ing a men­tal note to come back and try the lamb shoul­der, and that hot dog, we chowed down on the gin­ger and lemon­grass creme brulee. While cer­tainly tasty over­all, I’m not of the opin­ion that the menu’s the most excit­ing bit about Boney — although there’s some­thing about eat­ing creme brulee at Pony that tick­les my funny bone (LOL). It sure beats stum­bling down Lit­tle Collins Street to 7–11 for a box of Shapes and a pie though.

Behind the bar, there’s more than enough going on to get you well-lubricated for a debauch­ery and late night rol­lick­ing. Plenty of swell beer, a well-considered wine list, and a bunch of cock­tails too; try the Boney Bloody Mary, before hit­ting the beers and a band. While we didn’t have a chance to scam­per upstairs to see it, I have it on good author­ity from a friend that the band room is alive and well, hav­ing received a sim­i­lar fresh coat of paint and good scrub­bing as down­stairs. He men­tioned “win­dows!” and “higher ceil­ings!” and “they got rid of that stu­pid mix­ing desk” and “the DJ booth looks like a big rock thing, it’s pretty cool” — which all sounds excit­ing, and appeal­ing. It’s heart­en­ing too, to note the ol’ 2am spot is still A Thing, and that there seems to be plenty set to be a-happening up there in the com­ing months.

There’s some­thing about Boney that feels more mature than Pony. Maybe it’s the neon red lights, maybe it’s the food and the table ser­vice, or maybe it’s just the fact that the toi­lets are clean now, sans layer of floor-urine. This will no doubt infu­ri­ate some, but I for one def­i­nitely dug the vibe and the goings-on and the look and damn near every­thing else. The food offer­ings are solid, but I don’t think “WOAH, KITCHEN!” is the pri­mary rea­son to be excited about Boney’s open­ing. Frankly, it’s just great to have a late-night place to hang out on the week­end with­out hav­ing to resort to the kind of venues often best described as “The Worst” — there’d been a big, Boney shaped hole in our week­end party wan­der­ings, and by gosh it’s rather nice to have a new, not-worst, bar at which to hang out with pals, and see a band, into the morn­ing hours. So yeah, I look for­ward to see­ing Boney hap­pen­ing in earnest on the week­end, late at night and while amongst the party zone.

68 Lit­tle Collins Street

Boney on Urbanspoon

About the Author

Rebecca is a nerd from Melbourne, via Adelaide and South America. She goes by Reb, not Bec, and you can follow her on Twitter if you'd like. @RebNotBec

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