Not Quite Casablanca

By Damian Kelly


There comes a time during a coronavirus lockdown where you come to the realisation that puzzles are just not your thing. It may be after you’ve misplaced the final piece, it may come when you learn your table is not big enough for a 2,000-piece Ravensburger or you might have never been in a state of COVID-induced denial and so never opened a single box. I came to this realisation about 6 weeks into lockdown 2020 or what equates to roughly 9,600 pieces in puzzle time.


It was at this time that I also decided I needed a mid-lockdown career change. Whittling down the hours by placing jigsaws was just not going to cut it. But finding inspiration is hard when you’re social distancing and relegated to walks within a 5km radius of home.


Suffice to say, early morning exercise in the park and quiet walks in deserted streets did not provide the inspiration needed to find that je ne sais quoi to revamp COVID life. It was back to the drawing board.

The Inspiration

Some weeks later, I was in the office to pick up some equipment and came by the QANTAS bar trolley that has been co-opted as a PLN Friday arvo staple – original food stains and all. Back before COVID the usual suspects would gather round this cart to toast the end of the week.


Eureka – the spark of inspiration! I needed a home bar to upgrade WFH to SBFH (Small Bar from Home)… somewhere to seek refuge after coming home from the office, some 10 feet away.


Getting together the ingredients to make the perfect bar was time consuming and included the ingestion of various styles of gin and varietals of grape (all for academic purposes). But, the laborious task was worth it, and has made Friday arvo at Damo’s Place a fair substitute to Rick’s Café, Casablanca.

Small bar from home

As a small bar it meets the brief – it’s floor space is barely over 1m2 and it has alcohol. So, its not a bad substitute to getting out and about with real people.


Although, there is no Sam to play As Time Goes By, Siri does an okay job at guessing what music you’re in the mood for, and responds well to requests including, “play it [again], Sam!”

Damo’s Place sports a wide selection of gin hailing from Japan, England and Australia – including some bespoke blends which are exclusives. If you prefer wine, the varietals on offer are seasonal, while staple drops from New Zealand, Australia and Europe rotate every month.


Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, this one will have to do for a while longer.




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