Iain T. McKelvey & The Midnight Tangos reveal the best places to ‘Raise Your Wine’

Daydreaming from the barricades of Sydney’s lockdown, Iain T. McKelvey & The Midnight Tangos bottle down the best spots for a drink following their single, Raise Your Wine. 

The rock n’ roll band from Sydney, Iain T. McKelvey & The Midnight Tangos pop the cork and spill the locations that forged their tightly woven bond.

Following the release of their nostalgically timeless pub single, Raise Your Wine, frontman Iain T. McKelvey writes for Happy about the best Sydney spots for a drink with mates. Check it out below:

Image: Maria Boyadgis @fourminutestomidnight

It feels almost cruel to write about five of our favourite places to raise a wine right as Sydney goes into another lockdown. Maybe it’s best to look at it like a to-do list for when restrictions ease. Ironically the band aren’t very big wine drinkers but the sentiment is very much alive and an important part of what we believe in.

Lifelong connections are forged, mistakes, victories, insane ideas and volatile existential realisations are all made in the act of raising your wine. I think it’s incredibly important to embrace all of those moments, the fundamental intricacies that make us who we are. We are complicated and incredibly simple creatures all rolled into one. To feel all of what makes us human is what lets us know we’re alive. I may be paraphrasing but the famous philosopher Ronan Keating once said, “Life is a rollercoaster. Just got to ride it.”

So, in celebration of our latest single Raise Your Wine and in no particular order here are five of our favourite venues that you might find us doing just that.*We can’t stress the importance of live music venues enough, but we felt like this was a more about the all-encompassing traditional act of visiting your local:

Carlisle Castle Hotel, Newtown

The Carlisle was one of the first pubs I really developed a love for. When I first moved to Newtown, I moved in right next door. It’s just a great pub, with a pretty decent food offering, a cracking house red and Resch’s on tap. The checkered lino flooring and stools at the bar and, at the time, no bullshit service helped crash land me in to inner-city living. It’s ‘Newtown without having to deal with King Street’. Our bassist Calum is enjoying a renaissance with it for this very reason. Nothing beat walking under five metres to my front door some nights. The fact that it’s been operating since 1867 and allegedly haunted makes it all the better.

Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham

The PBC feels like a spiritual home of sorts. They are so supportive of local live music, particularly of us and the Evening Records roster. It was where we first launched as The Midnight Tangos addition and played two of the three gigs we got to play last year. I’ve had some amazing nights of live music there. The wine list, the tap selection and the trivia are all top-notch. The playlist is always on point. Not many places can beat the feeling of having a wine in the sun on the front lawn. In fact, it was where I sat, pondering our imminent destruction on the eve of the major lockdown.

Marrickville Hotel, Marrickville

A classic among the band and a bunch of friends. Also the cause of a few tender Tuesdays after sharing stories and getting carried away at their Margarita Mondays. The crew that run it are really nice and the staff are top-notch. For me it’s that happy medium between straightforward service and meticulously crafted decor. Our drummer Marshall grew up in the Snowy Mountains in a town called Khancoban and he says it reminds him of the small country pubs back home whilst being in the centre of his adoptive home of Marrickville. The fact that you can order from the Vietnamese place next door without giving up your prized bench seat outback is a major win.

The Friend In Hand Hotel, Glebe

As Wade, our guitarist says, “What’s isn’t there to like about The Friend In Hand?”.
The model train that goes around, the cockatoo, a dynamite playlist, decently priced beers, a red hot bistro and Australiana and other unrelated mementos all over the walls (like a kayak?!). It’s one of those pubs that is a visual representation of a manic mind and it all just seems to work. If you’re lucky enough to nab one of the tables out the front or at least by the window the people watching is second to none. For those of us that enjoy the finer delicacies of language the Poetry Night is well worth catching.

Huntsbury Hotel, Petersham

I moved to Petersham at the start of last year, pretty much right as we went into full swing of the Pandemic. It was my housemates who introduced me to the magnificence of the Huntsbury Hotel. It’s just around the corner and is definitely a staple local. It’s another of those places with a long history, being established in 1888 under the name the Masonic Hotel before changing to the Huntsbury in the 90s. It feels like the place hasn’t been updated since it first opened, which is by no means a bad thing. The carpet feels like something out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and there’s a stack of pool tables. It’s where you can go and talk to no one or find yourself in a conversation with a local that’s steeped in as much rich history as the venue you’re sitting in.

Some Honourable Mentions:

Bredbo Inn, Bredbo

No trip down to the snow would be complete with out stopping at The Bredbo Inn. Nothin beats a cold drink right on the side of the highway. Literally, right on the side of the highway.

Wayside Inn, Yankunytjatjara land, Uluru (Curtin Springs, Northern Territory)

Our guitarist spent some time working in Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort) and he reckons there is nothing better than hanging outside on a chair with a cold NT Draught and the roaming emus.

Mohawk, Austin Texas

At the insistence of Wade, when asked about this list. And the only one of us that’s lucky enough to have been. A twinkle in his eye whenever he mentions Austin. A multilevel cornucopia of beer, bbq, indoor and outdoor stages and a huge outdoor beer garden. It’s quickly gone on the fridge as a benchmark venue to visit, let alone maybe one day play. It looks like a place where all kind of memories are made. It made the list because one can dream right?

Check out Iain T. McKelvey & The Midnight Tangos’ latest single, Raise Your Wine, below. Available on all major streaming platforms.