Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Raccoon Club: raising the bar in Central Preston

While suffering a nasty bout of Retrospective Nostradamus Syndrome, CPL Newsline recently predicted that "a bar will open [in Central Preston] featuring recycled furniture and beers from local microbreweries", only to be alerted that such a venue has been operating for nearly two months already. Apologies to all concerned.

CPL Newsline's Reporter visited The Raccoon Club (145 Plenty Road, near the corner to Seymour Street) on Saturday evening and was immediately impressed - with the space, and particularly with the beer.

The Raccoon Club features a bar along the south wall, facing a row of tables, chairs and bench seats. There is outdoor seating at the front and a pool table at the back.

The beer selection iexcellent; it includes a number of rotating beer taps as well as bottled beers from local microbreweries. The basic beer list (see below) gives some idea of the range, but there are many more beers available if you ask.

This Reporter sampled the Thunder Road Full Steam Pale Lager on tap (subtle honey notes, perfectly executed, how a malt-driven lager should taste) and the Kooinda Black IPA in bottle (deep caramel, burnt toffee flavours offset by a beautiful hop bouquet). The latter beer cost only $6 per bottle, which is surely the most reasonable bar price in Melbourne for a quality black IPA.

In a discussion with one of the owners, it was discovered that The Raccoon Club has links with Victoria's most creative microbrewery, Moon Dog, and hopefully its beers will feature from time to time - exciting news for those who would otherwise need to travel to the other side of The River to sample Moon Dog's genius.

There are apparently various dining options at The Raccoon Club, including antipasti made on-premises and order-in pizza and Indian delivered from local restaurants. However, great beer is really the central focus here.

Central Preston: why would you ever need to leave?

The Raccoon Club on Urbanspoon


  1. Having a bar in Preston is great and about bloody time (2.2km walk home for me).

    Being a Springsteen fan, my first visit sealed the deal. Greetings from Ashbury Park, his first and very under-rated, album was playing as we entered. When I say playing, I don't mean via MP3 or even CD. Black vinyl my friends, good old vinyl going round and round on a record player. I settled in to listen, sipping Thunder Road pale ale and wondering if we should sell up and more closer.


  2. The other great thing about the music at the Raccoon Club is it's not intrusive. I hate it when the bar staff are so proud of their music taste, they feel they should assert it over your conversation.

  3. Yes but watch the friendly smile of the proprietor fall away from his face like chunks of pineapple if you bring a child into the Raccoon bar...

    1. Good. Children are ruining bars.

  4. hi anonymous (11 dec 2011 at 3.38am) yes the friendly smile may indeed fade away when children arrive at raccoon club but this is not because we do not like children , it has a lot to do with the $7,ooo.oo fine that can be given if we allow anyone under the age of 18 on the premises. Raccoon Club has a bar license only , this is a victoria liquor licensing law, we did not make this law up, it was the only license available to us as we can not provide hot meals(from a kitchen on premises) or amenities for children/babies(ie;play area/change rooms) We do not want to upset anyone or cause inconvenience, we do have signs in window and at the bar and also a message on facebook. sorry if you made the trip to the bar with expectation of a drink with the kids, we do usually tell customers with kids what the go is and hope they come again( without the under 18's ). We will try to advertise the conditions relating to our liquor license in a more obvious way so as not to put anyone out. Cheers and thanks for bringing this to our attention. Helen and Rob.

  5. Does anyone know if the RC is shutting down over Dec/Jan?

  6. No. we are open except new years day

  7. Stay out of Preston, please. Preston needs craft beers and $15 anti pasti like my ADHD cousin needs access to fireworks. If you couldn't afford to live in Northcote, make a go of adapting to your new surrounds. Why must you people ruin everything? Just the other day i saw a taco truck in Preston. A f$%king taco truck. What's next? An artists market? A Tapas bar? Say NO: Swoopy haired hipsters don't belong in a suburb for real people.

  8. There is this weird idea among people who have recently moved to the area, that somehow Preston is more 'authentic' and 'genuine' and 'real' than Northcote or Thornbury, and the Great Northern Migration is spoiling everything. Boutique beer, tacos, $19 yoga classes, thin-crust pizza and cafes serving good coffee are seen to be symptoms of this affliction.

    But the truth is Preston used to be more than a little run down, these changes have really given it a boost, and most people who have lived here for more than a few years are really happy with it all.

    The Raccoon Club is a good example. Until it opened, your drinking options were limited to the Olympic Hotel, the Junction Hotel, Cramers Hotel, the Preston Hotel, the Rose and Shamrock, etc - all low-end pubs with pokies and Victoria Bitter and 80s Oz rock and regular assaults. The Raccoon Club offers very good beer at very good prices, you can order food in from elsewhere, you can sit and talk with friends, meet new people. Plenty of people in the area love it, and if you don't like it then you always have Cramers.

    Central Preston now is so much better than Central Preston 10 years ago, and it's improving all the time.