Sweetbreads Out of Season: Pat Collins’ Bistro and Hobart’s Brief Bohemia by Jim Marwood | HB & PB
Jim Marwood | Hardback or Paperback
Tasmania’s first full liquor licence for a restaurant went to John Licandro’s Martini in Burnie. That was in 1968, but there had been wine on the menu at The Bistro (a basement restaurant under the Ship Hotel in Hobart) since 1961. There was nowhere like The Bistro and nobody like its charismatic maître d’, ‘Pat’ Collins, by turns charming, annoying and shocking to his drinkers and diners.
A motley mob of gregarious lawyers, politicians, journalists, artists, gays, students and musicians poured down into Collins’ welcoming and cosmopolitan cavern to roister and swap partners and ideas that were often seditious. Pat presided over it all but today the part he played in Tasmania’s ‘coming of age’ is forgotten. The ripples that he helped stir after 1961 grew into our present tourist hospitality, the legal acceptance of ‘gay’ relationships, and even the green political movement that spread worldwide after the destruction of Lake Pedder.
“Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a wonderful rollicking Rabelaisian chronicle of the life and times of…Pat Collins.”
-Tim Bowden, Author, TV presenter and recorder of Tasmanian oral history
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