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|Address||376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065|
It developed a reputation as one of the city's premier live music venues, drawing comparisons to the likes of New York's CBGB. It was also noted for its rough, alternative, yet casual atmosphere with audiences sometimes sitting on the floor while watching bands.
The Punters Club was started in 1987 with the taking over, renaming, and renovation of the Moonee Valley Hotel as a live-music venue, by Rob Guerini and Ric DiPietro. It played a broad and eclectic range of music, such as indie rock, electronica, nu country, lo-fi, metal, Celtic and ska. The venue helped launch the careers of a number of successful Australian bands, including Frente!, Magic Dirt, Something for Kate, Spiderbait and You Am I.
Rob loved footy, and in the early years it was a Saturday afternoon ritual to have a few beers listening to the footy on the wireless, whilst being entertained by Stanley Paulzin's razor sharp banter.
Nino from local legends the Boweevils lived above the pub, and was always generous with the Mexican cabbage, which was a laneway must.
Mat Everett took over the Club in 1993 and operated it for the remainder of its life.
From 1995, the Punters Club nurtured a close relationship with local purveyors of live electronic music, such as IF? Records (with their Zoetrope (sessions) and Clan Analogue, and regularly played host to live acts like Zen Paradox, Little Nobody, Artificial, Andrez Bergen, Voiteck, TR-Storm, Blimp, Son Of Zev, Isnod, Soulenoid, Guyver 3, Frontside, Half Yellow, and Honeysmack.
During the late 1990s Brunswick Street began to change, with a number of more mainstream establishments replacing what had been a much more alternative area. This resulted in a significant increase in property rents all along the strip, and when the Punters Club's lease came up for renewal in 2002, Everett saw continuing as unsustainable. The club closed its doors on 17 February 2002, with a twelve-hour music marathon that featured Gaslight Radio, Rocket Science, Pre-Shrunk, TISM and The Beat End Profilers.
The venue later became a pizza bar, Bimbo Deluxe. After a two-year hunt for another venue, Everett bought the Commercial Hotel in High Street, Northcote—an area that was developing a similar atmosphere to that of Brunswick Street in the 1980s. In late 2004 he reopened the venue as the Northcote Social Club, which maintains a very similar nature, bands and clientele to that of the Punters Club.
Melbourne band The Lucksmiths wrote a song entitled "Requiem For The Punters Club" as a tribute to the venue.
On 27 and 28 November 2010, Punters Club reunion gigs were held at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, featuring bands such as Spiderbait, Hoss, Guttersnipes, The Glory Box, Frente!, The Fauves and The Hollowmen(1).
Some of the bands who played at the Punters Club included:
- 2002 EP HORSE016-2 "Look to the sun" - Track 3 Soldiers (Live at the Punters)