Long Live the Elly!

It’s last drinks at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow

Callum Synnott
September 5, 2017
For over a decade, it has been one of Perth’s favourite pubs, but ‘The Elephant and Wheelbarrow’ will be closing its doors at the end of September for the last time. The pub, found right in the heart of Northbridge, has gained legendary status in the Perth football scene, with fans from around Perth and the country flocking to the famed pub for many an ale before and after matches. Here, I give my thoughts on losing the establishment and feature 4 of its most regular patrons.
Elephant and Wheelbarrow
Perth’s beloved venue, soon to close its doors

‘Guttered’ is the only word I can use. I’m not only speaking for myself, but a massive group including many of my closest friends, when I express how upset we are at finding out earlier this week that our beloved pub, ‘The Elly’ would be closing its doors in just a few weeks time. I feel we are not just losing a drinking establishment; we are losing a second home where we have come together, from all walks of life, different ages, different backgrounds, all in the love of our common interest; football. I’ve seen it all here. I’ve seen wonderful triumph for Perth Glory and the Socceroos, I’ve been singing my voice out intoxicated beyond belief well into the night with nary a watchful glance from the staff and security. I’ve seen absolute heartbreak, such as Glory’s A-League final loss in 2012, and consoled in others with copious amounts of booze. I’ve seen birthdays, I’ve seen party’s, I’ve seen new faces come and old faces go. I could go to the Elly at any time of week and, usually, find a familiar face to have a beer with.

Now, it’s being taken from me. I believe we’re not losing a pub; we’re losing a culture that has formed around this single establishment. I remember turning 18 nearly 4 years ago and being most excited to have pints at the Elly for pre and post-game. What makes it worse, is to be loosing our beloved watering hole to a tacky gimmick: a mini-putt golf course pub. I’m not saying this isn’t a good idea, but why am I losing my second home for it? The details are yet to fully come to the surface, but I’m certain that I’ll be having my final few pints there over the next few weeks.

For well over a decade, the Elly has been home to the Perth Glory ‘shed boys’, which would see the purple and white Perth Glory bus escort the boys and girls from the Elly to the match, and back again at full time. Along with this, Glory Fans United (GFU) has also called it home for many years. The grand, British style pub has seen Northbridge change around it and has withstood the test of time, being a popular hub for weekend entertainment and live music.

Elephant and Wheelbarrow football fans
The Elly before a Socceroos match

I feel we are losing a big part of recent history in Perth.  I am all for exciting new establishments, but can you see a putt-putt pub staying fun beyond a year? With the recent closures of The Moon and Sixpence and The Boheme, are we in danger of losing all traditional pubs in Perth city? The Elly was perhaps the most traditional. This is also a big loss for the football scene in Perth. Wherever will we all go? It’ll be many moons before I find another proper pub that will give me cheap pints on game days and put up with my raucous singing all night again.

I spoke with some of the Elephant and Wheelbarrow’s most faithful patrons, Brian Doherty, Matthew Maciaszek, David Winkless and Robert Michalak, to gauge their feelings on losing the beloved establishment.

Brian Doherty

Perth Glory and Celtic supporter, GFU member

Celtic Fan in Las Vegas
Brian Doherty living it up in Vegas

Q: What does the Elly mean to you?

A: The Elly is a place we all gather to watch football. Be it Glory, Socceroos or EPL. But that doesn't describe what the Elly means to us. It's more than just a TV in a pub. It's a community; to many of us we have celebrated birthdays, engagements, university graduations and almost every New Years Eve of the past few years. The Elly staff, the security and the management are all friendly and welcoming. If you are a regular, it doesn't matter if the pub was full with 1000 punters; they still treat you like family.

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Elly?

A: There have been so many great times in the Elly. But a special mention must go to any time Perth Glory play an away finals game. When the Elly becomes the place to be in Perth for every man and his dog. But it goes off like you never see anywhere else when we win those games. The 2012 win in a penalty shoot-out to qualify for a grand final was epic beyond any words can describe. The all-nighters for the World Cup were also brilliant nights.

Matt Maciaszek 

Perth Glory supporter, GFU member

Perth Glory fan
Matt Maciaszek at the Elly in 2011

Q: What does the Elly mean to you?

A: The Elly meant absolutely everything to me. It was a home away from home. I made so many life long mates there when watching PGFC and the Socceroos. The friendly staff there provided a great environment for the football family to sink beers and chant every home and away game. When I heard it was shutting down I was absolutely devastated and feel as though a piece of me has died

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Elly?

A: Highlights for me are:

  • Qualifying for the grand final against cheats FC [Brisbane Roar]. There has never been a louder, more mental, animalistic atmosphere in any pub I've been too
  • Seeing the ‘Emu Export’ Socceroos win the Asian cup was also pretty sweet
  • Being part of the team of Glory boys that set the record of 125 cans of Export in one night was also a very special feeling
  • I should probably mention getting with my fiancée at this fine establishment too (for no other reason than that I value my life)

David Winkless

Perth Glory supporter, GFU member

Perth Glory supporter
David Winkless supporting Glory over east 

Q: What does the Elly mean to you?

A: The Elly was my home away from home and it'll be sad to see it go. I've met nearly all of my mates through Glory pre-games at The Elly and I've made mates for life because of the good times spent at the Elly. Most of my summer weekends were spent on the Elly's dance floor at night or the restaurant area during the day watching Glory away games or Socceroos games.

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Elly?

A: My fondest memory would have to be the early days of the A-League when we used to have Glory pre-games in the band room. The room would pack out with mainly GFU (Glory Fans United) members and Blayne Treadgold (GFU leader) would get the tunes cranking and everyone would join in with a good old fashion sing along to glory tunes whilst having a few beers with the early A-League game on in the background. Sadly the past few years pre-game numbers have dropped.

Robert Michalak

Perth Glory supporter, terrace drummer

Perth Glory fan and footballer
Rob Michalak with Dino Djulbic

Q: What does the Elly mean to you?

A: The Elly for me was football. From an age I needed a guardian to gain entry up till now nearly five years later. As a football lover back then as I am now, the Elly was the place to be to meet and socialize with likeminded people, before the game, after the game, during the off-season for a chat and pint. Football is embodied into my life; this pub reciprocated what has always been most important to me.

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Elly?

A: I think it was for a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Australia v Iraq, qualification pending on other results if we draw. Second half, Joshua Kennedy headers one home from a Mark Bresciano cross. The contact, the net rippling and everyone I'm stood with shoulder-to-shoulder exploding as celebrations follow. That would have to be one that stands out to me amidst all the fantastic memories made there.windows l

Callum Synnott

My name is Callum Synnott, I’m 21 years old and I am from England. I love great music, 60s fashion, football, travel and quality bars that sell great beer. I play in a band called The Lost Heretics, I write for X-Press magazine and I am just about to graduate from UWA with a Bachelor of Science. I dislike hot weather and bland pop music. I am passionate about Perth because of its excellent local music scene, cool bars and the many great people I have met over my time here.