About ten years ago the west end of Geelong started to change. Live music at Beav’s Bar began to drive a wedge into the DJs and nightclubs.
Five and a half years ago last September, Pete Raimundo started Pistol Pete’s Food and Blues and Beav’s shift became a trend. Pete had to double the size of his premises, Andy Pobjoy could not expand his Piano Bar and moved to Malop Street, still in that west end of Geelong.
Pete says, “it doesn’t feel like that long. The street has changed a lot … street’s picking up.” Add to that, restaurants with their variety of food, and even the council has taken notice of improvements to the area. Now the West End has started bringing in different clientele.
“There are new people, a lot here for everybody, certainly it’s great food, it’s pretty authentic. We get good feedback from Americans on tour or actually living here now. Had a Texan last night who said the okra was ‘just like his grandma made’,” Pete continues. “It’s a good experience, same with the music; we cover blues and soul, have been doing a lot of Americana and Country and obviously jazz. You don’t have to be right into that music, you get the vibe… you might not listen to country ever, but you’ll have a fun time.”
There are definitely regulars, every week or fortnight. Opening up into the adjacent shop was definitely good for Pistol Pete’s.
“34 max and that was probably a bit tight, next door was a must-do.” Pete would have liked to expand along again, but the landlord did point out that it was not only a separate building but a separate title!
“We’ve got al fresco at the front, now the courtyard, late November, early December, with food and licensed, you can have fresh air and still hear the tunes.”
I asked him what was the high point? “That’s a hard one … I think Mardi Gras going on to the street. We’re already planning the next one. 2020.”
Pete’s favourite food? “Fried chicken.”
Favourite drink? “Oh … too many to choose …”
And music? “It was always a pleasure to have Chris [Wilson] here. That was our first coup, two nights in a row, which was very cool, very clubby. There’s been some great bands through, international as well as local ones, I’m a bit of a sucker for Creek, Steve Boyd Rum Reverie, any band that’s got horns in it, some of the young guys … Jack Meredith, Heath Robertson, Fenn, and George Wilson. I’ve seen them from when some of them were 15, 16, 14 the way they’ve grown and the future that’s there for them. It’s good to see them perform the same song, but it’s grown and then they hold it about five minutes out and run with it, it’s pretty cool. And the Sweethearts when they come and do their thing, like the gig before I think there were nine new members. Then you see the other ones who are about to leave. It’s about giving a space.”
I’m a regular, Sunday afternoons mostly. It’s a great venue.
Written by Dr John Lamp
Photo by Kim Patrick Callow