Australia's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released Hope Downs earlier this year, a record that's absolutely filthy with great songs, big hooks and catchy choruses. Owing a little to bands like The Clean and The Go-Betweens but forging its own melodic path, the record is one of 2018's best debuts. (It's made year-end lists of MOJO, Rough Trade, Uncut and more.) If you haven't given Hope Downs a spin yet, do so below.

We've been asking artists for their Best-Of lists, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have sent us theirs. Instead of albums or movies, or books, Fran Keaney and and brothers Tom and Joe Russo given us their Top 10 Bars of 2018. They say: "During 2018 we were fortunate enough to tour all over the world, and subsequently found ourselves in assorted drinking establishments. These are some of them." From London and Ghent to Chicago and one located in international waters, their list, with very entertaining commentary and Pros / Cons for each, is below.

Speaking of touring the world, RBCF have a few shows lined up for 2019, but they're all in their part of the world (Australia and Tasmania). Those dates are listed below.



Joe's Bar

Joe’s Bar - London, UK
We played two shows in London this year and somehow found ourselves at this place twice. Definitely not the best bar in London but it was open both times. The bouncer made Joe turn his cap around backwards so that CCTV could see his face in case of trouble. House rules. Marcel got his jacket taken.

Pro: Open
Con: Knife crime


Vera - Groningen, Netherlands
We played at Vera Groningen in May. It is a kick arse venue that has been running since the 70s. Everyone has played there (joy division, birthday party, sonic youth, nirvana). Underneath the venue, tucked about 6 feet below street level, on the old street level, is an old bar from the 1300s. The bar is cozy and a good spot for meeting doctors from Namibia which is exactly what I did.

Pro: Gezellig
Con: Low roof


Bar on Stenaline Ferry, International Waters
We took the ferry between our shows in Norway and Denmark. The view was grey fog as far as the eye could see, and the temperature was cold. It was our driver Michael (‘Cookie)’s birthday, so we bought him an Aquavit and a Lego Ford Mustang. When in Rome. Then we bought ourselves some Aquavits. By the end of the ferry ride we were several Aquavits deep and had a completed Lego Mustang.

Pro: Stern yet generous Norwegian bartender
Con: Norwegian drink prices


Fisher's Brewery

Fisher’s Brewery - Salt Lake City, USA
I heard Salt Lake City was pretty dry. But apparently that’s changing. Found ourselves in Salt Lake City twice this year and both times at Fishers Brewery. We watched the Utah “Jazz” win a playoffs game on the buzzer, and we all rejoiced.

Pro: Take Away Crowlers
Con: Mid-strength


CC Club

CC Club - Minneapolis, USA
After our show at 7th Street Entry, Will, house sound tech and his partner Bobby-Anne took us to CCs bar. Apparently The Replacements used to drink there all the time. It was a dive bar in cold Minneapolis. You could really stay there a while. Our TM Kevin reckoned he’d played bass there once in front of Prince. He might have been right.

Pro: Perfect bar


Admiral Nelson - Braunston, UK
This cozy canal-side pub is like a stereotype of the idyllic English countryside, all rolling pastures and cobblestone bridges. Our manager Scott optimistically ordered a three-quarter latte. The barkeep did not know what that was, but he did have beer, so we settled for that.

Pro: Feeling like an English duke surveying their domain
Con: limited coffee selection


Johnny Brenda’s - Philadelphia, USA
We played here twice this year. It just seems like a classic Philly rock joint. The drinks are cold and the cheesesteaks across the road are hot. We lost a bunch of money playing dice with the staff. Real sharks. Speaking of cheesesteaks, do not advise having two in one day.

Pro: Rock ‘n’roll attitude
Con: Loaded dice


The Old Bar

The Old Bar - Melbourne, Australia
The Oldie is a seminal local venue and drinking hole, and it was nice to prop up the bar and catch up with friends after our biggest hometown shows to date. We have graced its stage and bar many times, it’s like a comforting sticky blanket.

Pro: Friendly faces
Con: Too easy to not go home

Dulle Griet

Dulle Griet - Ghent, Belgium
On a rare Friday night off on tour, we wisely chose to spend it in the wonderland city of Gent, Belgium. One of many great bars visited that foggy night, this one stood out for its enormous bulbous beer glasses that require a wooden frame to hold them up. On purchasing these beers, you are required to surrender one shoe as collateral to the bar staff who put them in a basket and hoist it to the ceiling via some kind of pulley system. You feel very stupid wearing just one shoe for a long time but all sense of decorum has dissipated long before you get anywhere near the bottom of your giant, tasty and potent Belgian beer. You totter to the bar when you're done to collect your shoe.

Pro: One big beer will get you silly drunk
Con: Walking to the bathroom with one shoe trying to play it cool


Skylark - Chicago, USA
Memories of this one are foggy, our kind Chicago friends Deeper took us here after our show together at Lincoln Hall. Chicago in general is our kind of town, the only kicker seems to be the winter, we Australians are not built for that kind of thing. We keep getting given bottles of Malört, which I’m a big fan of, but seems to not have made it out of Chicago due to the fact that it may not taste very good. All I can remember is shots of Malört, Schlitzes (leading to the term ‘getting Schlitzed’) and Polish sausages. All in all a solid Chicago experience.

Pro: Malört
Con: Post Malört


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - 2019 Tour Dates
31 Dec 2018 Langley Park, Perth Origin Fields
16 Feb 2019 Somersby, NSW Mountain Sounds
09 Mar 2019 Panama Festival, TAS
16 Mar 2019 Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide Festival
06 Jul 2019 De Groene Heuvels, Ewijk, Netherlands Down The Rabbit Hole Festival
11 Jul 2019 Madrid, Spain Mad Cool Festival
12 Jul 2019 Madrid, Spain Mad Cool Festival
13 Jul 2019 Madrid, Spain Mad Cool Festival