Keep the chill out: Preston’s Rebel Rebel raises the bar with fully enclosed beer garden

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Keep the chill out: Preston’s Rebel Rebel raises the bar with fully enclosed beer garden

Rebel Rebel
words by Joanne Brookfield

A dive bar with a warm and cosy new enclosed beer garden, Rebel Rebel is the place to be this winter.

While “winter” and “beer garden” aren’t usually synonymous terms, Preston’s Rebel Rebel is changing that. Where other pubs may whack up an umbrella or unfurl an awning, and hope you remembered to bring a coat as you try and keep the teeth-chattering to a minimum, Rebel Rebel have just unveiled their brand new, fully enclosed, warm and cosy beer garden.

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“There aren’t many other beer gardens like ours in the area where it is fully enclosed,” observes owner Dan Pezzimenti. “It is going to be a bit of a wet, windy Melbourne winter and I think it’s going to be a really nice place to sit outside during winter and still be really warm and totally undercover”.

Like all self-respecting beer gardens, Rebel Rebel’s one is a grassed area with plants and, like the rest of the venue, is dog-friendly. “Dogs are welcome. We encourage people to bring their dogs down,” he says.

The space also features an abstract graffiti mural by local artist Simon Beuve. “It flows the length of the beer garden and shows off the length of it,” explains Venue Manager Chase Wallace, adding Beuve’s murals can be found in several bars across Preston and Thornbury.

“There’s a bit of a connection with his artwork and this area, so it really kind of ties the area together,” continues Wallace, who says they first met Beuve when he DJed for them, as every Friday and Saturday night they have DJs spinning vinyl.

It’s this kind of hyper-local community connections Rebel Rebel, named after a Bowie song, are actively forging, which is why they embrace the retro dive bar concept. For owner Pezzimenti, who has a background working in bigger pubs, he wanted to scale things back a bit when he opened his own place.

For him, dive bars represent a mix of vintage, eclectic tastes (which their 60s and 70s inspired décor nails) plus draws on the history of rock and roll vibes and punk music. “So music is a focus for us, we’re pretty much always spinning vinyl and we play old VHS tapes on a small TV we’ve got here,” he says.

However, it’s about more than just aesthetics, as community is also a big focus for him and his team. “I think that dive bars really bring people together, with friendly, welcoming bartenders who are keen for a chat. This is a place where we have a lot of locals and regulars who come in a few times a week and are known to us by name.”

Given they’re a bar, Rebel Rebel are also about “cheap drinks and basic cocktails” and they stock a “lot of independent booze”, such as Collingwood’s Molly Rose, Mordialloc’s Wolf of the Willows and Love Shack. “They’re a Castlemaine brewery coming up right now,” notes Wallace.

To make the most of the brand new beer garden, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 4-6pm it’s Happy Hour, with $5 pots, $10 pints and $9 wines. “That’s all tap beer and wines available,” he says.

On the weekends, they open early, so on Saturday’s from 1pm – 6pm there’s $10 margaritas and if you’re looking for some hair of the dog on Sundays, head to 93 Plenty Road in Preston for $10 Bloody Marys all day.

“We’re going for comfy and cosy vibes,” says Pezzimenti, who opened the bar in 2020. “So it’s been a really rocky start for us,” he says of surviving multiple lock-downs and other issues.

However, the new beer garden has been designed, approved, built and, now, finally, is open for business. “We’re heated, covered and ready for winter,” he says. “It is really nice in there. Even when it is raining, it’s quite nice to sit under there and listen to the rain on the tin roof”. Doesn’t get cosier than that.

Head on down to 93 Plenty Rd, Preston to see what all the fuss is about. Keep up to date with all things Rebel Rebel by heading here.

This article was made in partnership with Rebel Rebel