A subtle lick of paint here, new wood-panelling there and a couple of classy pics adorning the walls, it gave off that true-blue ‘Australiana’ feel with ease.
The place was packed for opening night. Management had shut the doors for 10 days to give the bar a facelift and the result was remarkable. It was lighter. Funkier. It had the ‘vibe’.
Sasa, a Kiwi barman who has worked at the Covent Garden Walkie for two and a half years, couldn’t get over the new look.
“The upgrade is awesome,” he shouted above the pumping tunes. “Long, long overdue. Probably 10 years overdue. It used to be one of the worst Walkabouts around and now it’s right up there with the very best. The new look won’t attract the messy guys, it’s now the kind of place where you can still get loose but also bring your missus.”
Awesome photos: Were you at the opening night? Check out our photo gallery and relive the fun.
Other patrons seemed to be enjoying the upgrades too. Cameron Webster, an Aussie who has been travelling round Europe for the past three months and the first customer to cross the newly done threshold, was very impressed.
“It’s heaps better,” said Cameron. “The joint is much lighter and feels bigger. It still needs a few more effects of jingoism – the inflatable crocodile from downstairs needs to come back up but otherwise it looks really good. Looks like a hotel lobby when empty but really, really cool when it’s full.”
As well as a remodelled interior design, the bar also profited from some brand new floorboards.
“Bugger,” joked Aussie Phil Hemmings, after spilling some beer on the ground. “It feels like the Walkie of old now.”
The stage, which has been raised and widened, was pumping out some good ol’ Aussie classics and the crowd were making the most of the new dance floor.
“Best thing is the live music,” said one happy English customer, Rachel. “It’s such a great way to unwind after a tough week.”
Scandinavian Sina and Kasha were breaking all the rules and loving it.
“It’s good enough to make us stay out late on a school night!”
Sports addicts will fall in love with the new 3D TV and while the wall behind the bar needs a bit more character, Covent Garden’s freshest looking pub gets the big tick.
“The Walkie leaves you omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent,” laughed Sina and Kasha again.
It may do just that after a few snakebites. But booze or no booze, the new look Walkie will certainly leave you impressed.