November 24, 2022

Full Moon Fever, Lulie’s new Cali-inspired rooftop bar, will have you dreaming of the desert

On Johnston Street in Abbotsford, Lulie Tavern is a local favorite boozer reminiscent of classic American bars, filled with neon signs and bric-a-brac from yesteryear, plus Tom’s memorabilia and tunes Petty.

Today, the tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll legend has continued upstairs with the opening just in time for summer of Full Moon Fever, a rooftop bar named after his album from 1989.

But the inspiration doesn’t stop there. The laid-back outdoor lounge bar is inspired by owners Jon-Lee Farrell and Brendan Kennedy’s travels to off-the-beaten-path desert bars in California’s Joshua Tree National Park. “It’s like you’re walking up there and it could have been there for 20 years,” Farrell said. Large format. “It’s a less glossy take on the Cali bar scene and stays true to Lulie’s aesthetic.”

Found atop an old bank built in the 1960s, the couple have repurposed the original building as much as possible, using mostly raw and recycled materials for the layout. That means large warehouse windows and Northcote factory red brick lining the walls and bar, juxtaposed with terrazzo-style stone, built-in wooden cabins and sunny day beds. There’s also a retractable roof and wood-burning stove for cooler Melbourne days, plus a wall lined with cacti and succulents.

The drink menu is themed, centering on California-style cocktails – think “forgotten classics” made with tequila, mezcal and bourbon – or opt for a cactus-shaped drink dispenser filled with a tequila mix blanco, blood orange and sparkling brut which serves 12.

The menu has a “roadhouse, outback saloon vibe,” says Kennedy, and it’s not too different from the one downstairs. You have a choice of eight towering burgers (including a riff on the Hungry Jack’s Whopper that’s “heavy on the onion” and a vegan fried chicken number), plus deep-fried Southern buffalo wings and hot fries and sauce.

While its predecessor downstairs is dark and plunging in the best way, the team contrasts it with this expansive outdoor beer garden space. Climb the stairs or climb up and smash a few golden hour glasses with a view of Abbotsford. “It’s obviously outside, but it’s set back from Johnston Street,” Kennedy says. “You leave the busy street behind and when you’re upstairs you feel serene, like you can be anywhere.”

Full Moon Fever opens Friday, November 18.

full moon fever

Upstairs, 225 Johnston Street, Abbotsford


Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to late

Fri to Sun 12pm to late