Fitzroy is well and truly in the history books as one of Melbourne’s most-loved party areas, so it seems fitting that when a disco diner comes to town, it takes up shop on Gertrude Street. Enter: Evie’s Disco Diner, the American-style diner and late-night disco that has moved into the old Beach Burrito digs.
Evie’s is the brainchild of Wayne Markus, the hospo stalwart behind The Wilde – the ex-British style gastropub on Gertrude Street. His 5 years at The Wilde meant getting to know the area well, so when it came time to give Evie’s the green light, Wayne had the recipe that was sure to win over Fitzroy and beyond.
The result is an 80s-style retro American diner-turns-disco when 10pm hits. The new fit out has taken on much of the structures left behind by Beach Burrito – save the enormous skate bowl which has been filled in to make way for the ‘pool area’ (AKA the pool inspired dancefloor). Inside, it’s all about bright pinks and blues set against the stark white tables, designed to look like diving boards into the pool from above.
The fit-out was specifically designed with grooving in mind. Come 10 pm, the diving boards are packed away to make way for quite the dancefloor.
“It’s always pretty lively,” says Wayne. “The music is always loud and pumping, but after 10, it transitions into more of a nightclub. The lights get dimmer, the music gets louder, and people tend to go for it.”
When it comes to eating, Fitzroy’s huge proportion of vegan eaters has had a huge sway on the menu.
“I thought about the fact that 50% of people in this area would be vegan,” says Wayne, “so the common-sense thing to do would be to do a Vegan menu.”
One to try is their best-selling vegan ‘chicken’ burger with a southern fried patty, Asian slaw and vegan cheese. Or if that’s not the way you sway, their real chicken burger is drool-worthy; we’re talking cornflake coated fried chicken with blue ranch mayo. Pair it with some loaded fries topped with gravy, spring onions and sour cream, or vegan mac and cheese. Whatever you choose, there’s plenty of options to keep you well sustained for a night full of toe-tapping.
To keep you hydrated, don’t be surprised if your eyes dart straight to the slushy machine behind the bar. Kicking the nostalgia into gear, slushies made from home-made cherry cola, root beer and creaming soda syrups are hot property. Alternatively, stick to the American-diner cliché and order a shake, spiked of course. Pistachio shakes spiked with bourbon all the way to cookies and cream Oreo shakes with baileys and vodka are go-tos.
Not just here for a good time, Wayne’s vision also extends to the social responsibility associated with running a bar. You won’t find any plastic straws at Evie’s, nor will you find wasteful bottles or cans, rather larger kegs to minimise excess.
“The idea was for it to have a retro shell, a modern soundtrack, American diner food and then a bit of a social conscience – we don’t have any plastic straws, they’re all specifically manufactured glass ones.”
Armed with a social conscience, a fun buzz and a damn good menu, Evie is the new girl in town that everyone wants to meet, so throw on your dancing shoes and get on over.