Lefty's Old Time Music Hall is like a lavish honky tonk saloon meets bordello conveniently beamed up from the deep south of 19th century America to Caxton St. Inhabiting Petrie Terrace's majestic old Baroona Labor Hall, which it shares with the ghosts of original occupants the Oddfellows, Labor party members, tailors, punk concert goers and strippers (the latter from its last incarnation as the renowned burlesque strip club The Velvet Cigar), Lefty's is a world away from most bars in Brisbane.
Inside is a decadent vision splendid of scarlet walls, chandeliers, giant gilt mirrors, black leather candlelit booths and an opulent curved bar overlooked by giant moose heads, a bear and a peacock mounted in wall alcoves. Upstairs a wraparound red carpeted gallery where once the strippers hosted private shows is now a lounge bar of vintage Chesterfields and clusters of stools known as the Candy Can Bar.
Dotted around are relics preserved from The Velvet Cigar days – amongst them a vintage Cuban Cigar cabinet, bar stools and, behind the cubicle doors in the men's toilet, the list of prices for the girls' services.
Entertainment wise, when the sweet yearning twangs of country music aren't being piped through the hall, they come from live bands on the mini cow skin floored stage with resident taxidermy chimpanzee. And true to theme the drinks here are top heavy in beer (of the boutique variety) and whisky, with a bar menu by one of Brisbane's best burger masters, Ben's Burgers.
And for those wondering where Lefty's curious name came from, Lefty's Old Time Dance Hall was a travelling sideshow in America's deep south in the early 20th century. It would set up in halls like the Baroona, bringing honky tonk, whisky, beer and Adults Only entertainment to the town residents, along with rumours of strange pleasurable activities that went on in secret rooms off the hall. Then, without warning it would vanish, leaving the townsfolk to wonder if it would ever return.