At street level, the Grand Poobah is as unassuming as its name isn’t, but its dimly lit, dingily carpeted stairs lead to one of Hobart’s night-time treasures. Here, in the heart of town, punters are treated to a lazy Susan of events including local stand-up, cabaret and burlesque, cult-film nights, a monthly second-hand bazaar and a weekend gig guide of local bands with the occasional dance party tossed in.
A testament to this town’s kooky side, the entertainment line-up ranges from cross-dressing punk rockers to deadpan comedians and everything in between. With a vibe as easygoing as a share-house party, the retro-raffish interior comes with heady dashes of fire-engine red and billowy curtains. Comfy, mismatched armchairs team perfectly with chintzy cellophane decorations and prize game mounts, including a kangaroo head, oddly adorning the walls.
The cute-as-pie Kissing Room is a late-night lounge, while the Swamp Art Compostery is a changeable art space that hosts the Sammy Wun Shot Bar (that’s right, one shot is all you get). There’s a cover charge most nights but it’s affordable, as are bar prices in general. While there’s no Grand Poobah website, the venue’s Facebook page has loads of information. The key is to assume nothing – except that just about anything goes at this multi-arts, night-time nucleus.