My first impressions of Carnegies probably would have been ok if my shoes hadn’t stuck to the sticky filth on the floor and remained next to the ATM as I reached the bar. My first impressions probably would have been a lot better if it didn’t take nearly fifteens minutes to finally get served by a bartender who look like he wanted to run into oncoming traffic. And I can assure you my first impressions would have been a lot better if my drink wasn’t served in plastic and then ended up on the floor five minutes later from the boisterous jostling of some drunken douche bags, (who were strangely allowed to continue drinking by Carnegies standards, even though they were close to paralytic).
Carnegies is a jack of all trades but a master of none. There is just too much going on there and it really sends out a mixed message about the place. There’s a quiz night on Tuesday, half price cocktails Wednesday, all day Breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, (not to be confused with the Aussie BBQ on Friday), happy hour on weekdays, Mexican themed Thursday nights, also a backpacker night on a Thursdays, DJs on the weekends but an Irish band on Sunday afternoons and an industry night on Sunday, or is it Monday….? There’s so much going on you can easily lose track of what night it is and what the promotions are.
It’s quite a decent sized venue and behind the bar are shelves and shelves of spirits accompanied with a huge ladder that swivels to each side. It’s got this kind of RSL/Hard Rock Cafe in the 80’s feel to it with music memorabilia hanging off every spare piece of wall available. Upstairs is a loft style bar with a dance floor and a bit more a modern feel to it. If you want a cigarette you have to leave your drink inside, (and pray it doesn’t get spiked) and have a smoke on the sidewalk a few metres from the entrance. The staff don’t say or smile much, and there’s been numerous complaints about over-zealous bouncers there over the last year.
Carnegies has notions of grandeur and culture however its high-vis central. A friend of mine once said to me, “You can’t change a turd but you can roll it in glitter!” and I think this is one of the more accurate ways to describe carnage. The majority of the patrons during the week are tradies, on weekends it tends to be a mid-twenties to forty somethings, and for some reason the place seems to attract the Irish. The people that go to Carnegie’s know what to expect and every time you frequent the place its like patting your slightly wayward and socially awkward little brother on the head is if to say, “maybe one day he’ll get there.”
The one thing that works in favour of Carnegies is the prices. The prices here are on the cheaper side of things and half price cocktails on a Wednesday sees the place packed out. You can get a stock-standard Daiquiri or Mai Thai for about $7. They have tap beer as well and on industry nights, hospitality workers get $5 pints and spirits. The wine list is mostly West Australian and on the cheaper side, and for all the boganistas out there, yes they have the Brown Brothers ‘Crooo-chon Rise-ling!’.
Soon Carnegies will be opening a roof top bar, however if you can’t get downstairs right what’s the point?
If you want a cheap night out and you don’t mind very loud generic music, lines to the bar, sticky floors, and the Irish band then this is the place for you.