by Richie Goodacre
Edited by Shifa Mehra
Once known as ‘The Velvet Cigar,’ A place where locals would frequent at the end of a hard working week to unwind and see professional dancers, now could not be more opposite, as what stands in its place is now a popular hotspot Lefty’s Music Hall.
Reimagined as a country western saloon, not too dissimilar in aesthetic to the watering holes that feature prominently in some of your grandparents’ favourite movies. That is not to say, however, that any remnants of its former identity have disappeared, those who harbour fond memories of the former establishment will be best pleased that the minds behind Lefty’s (Hallmark Group Australia) have sought to keep the memories alive, maintaining some of its remnants.
The History of the building spans over 100 years. It was initially known as Baroona Hall, constructed in 1884 by Richard Gailey for the United Brothers Lodge Of The Order of Longfellows. A working-class friendly society committed to moral improvement and practical welfare. The society’s handshake could be seen on the logo for the venue at the time. The hall held a concert to celebrate the opening and soon became the central place for musical performances, plays, and political meetings, mainly the Queensland Labor Party.
In 1909 the building was used as a clothes factory. Their employees (mainly young women) were tasked with creating both mass-produced and bespoke clothing. Moreover, they notably created military uniforms for soldiers in World War One.
As the ’70s rolled around, The hall was seen as a more social venue as it hosted many events. The Brisbane Amateur Wrestling Club used the venue as a gym and headquarters. The venue was also the go-to place for punk rock bands. Iconic household names such as The Leftovers, Razar, The Go-Betweens, Survivors, and Zero, to name a few.
Despite briefing closing its doors in 2019, Leftys returned with a vengeance in 2020 and reclaimed its position as one of Brisbane’s most popular nightlife destinations and, indeed, the best venue to boot scoot.
Queensland;, c=AU; o=The S. of (2017). Baroona Hall – Heritage and music digital trail | Heritage and music digital trail. [online] www.qld.gov.au. Available at: https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/arts/heritage/experience/music-trail/baroona-hall [Accessed 18 Oct. 2022].
Baxter, L. (2019). https://themusic.com.au/. [online] themusic.com.au. Available at: https://themusic.com.au/news/leftys-old-time-music-hall-baroona-hall-closed-permanently/vmna0NPS1dQ/14-11-19 [Accessed 18 Oct. 2022].
https://caxtonstreet.com.au. (n.d.). Caxton Street. [online] Available at: https://caxtonstreet.com.au/venues/leftys/ [Accessed 18 Oct. 2022].