Above an Asian grocery store and a gym you’ll find Pride of our Footscray, a relaxed and welcoming bar that proudly celebrates the best of the local neighbourhood.
The idea of a building community bar was seeded by Mat O’Keefe, who moved to the inner west 7 years ago.
“I just had an idea that it would be great to have a bar that really reflected the diversity of Footscray and to bring people together – and when I put the idea out there I had so many supporters! It meant that I could afford to rent a bigger space than I’d originally hoped for.”
In fact, Pride of our Footscray is jointly owned by nearly 200 people, each of whom have signed the following pledge: “I am part of the human race and I respect diversity, including but not limited to, diversity of thought, opinion, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion and sexuality”.
Inclusive community space
Their mission is to build an inclusive community space that supports local food, local beer, local art, local sport, local performers and above all, local people.
To that end, the bar’s menu of takeaway food supports local restaurants – a staff member will run down to pick up your order for Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Chinese or pizza!
A major drawcard of Pride of our Footscray is the lively and colourful calendar of events. There’s something different every night, including Karaoke, Dance Glass, Gayme Shows and drag bingo! You can also play pool and watch the footy on the big screen.
Pride of our Footscray is also the only live music venue in Victoria that’s permanently hosted by a drag queen.
“When all the other bars in the area close at 1am, people often come to Pride of our Footscray because we close later,” says Mat. ”That’s why we always schedule a drag queen show at 1:30am! People who would normally just go and see live music are able to see a drag queen, and people who would normally go see a drag queen show are exposed to different forms of live music. It works, and everyone gets along.”