29th apartment is a re-creation of an apartment originally inhabited by the infamous Katishe: a salacious struggling artist who worked the streets of St Kilda by night to support her passion and hopes of one day being discovered for her talents as a painter.  A little after the time Jack Kerouac and Sid Vicious rented rundown rooms at New York City’s Chelsea Hotel, Katishe created her own slice of NYC at 29th apartment. When this gorgeous eccentric walked the dangerous streets at night and brought the rough and tumble men and women back to her place, none of her clients expected the maze of abstract oil paintings that stacked the walls. Fixated with the underground art and cultural movement that Andy Warhol had championed (and perhaps used to being up all night with her trade), most of Katishe’s paintings tell stories from the streets of NYC, the city that never sleeps.  Since her mysterious disappearance in the early 80s, 29th apartment has only existed as a memory until 2009 when the current owners of the bar found her self-portrait, ‘Katishe’ as well as remnants of her personal life that are thought to have been part of her night time craft. Paying homage to this hard-working woman, the new owners re-imagined 29 Fitzroy Street as a bar and casual art gallery. With a fish tank that houses a now water-discoloured dildo in the cute bedroom, a decal of a back alleyway that leads to the toilets and a bookcase full of Katishe’s literary inspiration, 29th apartment brings the underbelly of St Kilda and New York together in a blend that can only be understood by taking a look into the heart of Katishe. 29th apartment welcomes you to ring its buzzer and enter into the comfy lounge room for a night of NYC inspired artwork, music, food and beverages.



29 Fitzroy St, St Kilda Melbourne Australia 3182


(03) 8506 0765



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29th Apartment Review

Review by Frances Waterbury

A Wednesday night in Melbourne, and lo and behold: a ferocious storm is tearing its way through the town. Nevertheless, I have taken it upon myself to confront the potential death-by-lightening-bolt fiasco in the name of social activity. My target is in the form of a game of Giant Jenga, wine, and pizza for a dollar (!) at 29th Apartment, Fitzroy Street.

And so the scene is set with the wind lashing and the streets flooding and Armageddon imminent. Once I’d left my car in a spot that seemed likely enough to still be above sea level upon my return I bee-lined for the safety of 29th Apartment’s couches and my friends.

Noting the white picket fences reminiscent of town houses in Fitzroy which surrounded the entrance, I pushed my way through the front doors and found myself in a retired backpacker’s living room. To my left a giant TV screen showed Mary Poppins, a man in thongs narrowly escaped falling over his milk-crate seat, and the ensuing cheers from his mates interrupted a chorus of ‘Bad Boys’. Spotting my lot dancing around a precarious tower of Giant Jenga bricks (easily taller than me) which made me think of some bizarre rainy-day type cult that I had unwittingly stumbled across, I went to join them, ready for games and delicious things.

It’s apparent immediately that we are supposed to feel right at home in this bar, the whole interior is designed to look exactly like ‘that-cool-guy-who-throws-the-best-parties-even-if-nobody-knows-exactly-what-he-does’s’ place. Except that there is proper pizza and a considerably more well stocked bar.

Aforementioned pizza arrives, costing me only a dollar along with my Pinot Grigio(a Wednesday special), and I set about assisting my girlfriends with cocktail choices and convincing my guy friends to take the wrong brick from the Jenga stack. Leaving them with an assortment of caramel margaritas, cheesecake cocktails (under $20 each, a win in my books) and many a strewn Jenga brick, I went to explore.

Passing a small cluster of girls in cool beanies languishing on the double bed at the rear of the bar I came across the clothes-swap rack. Here people deposit their own items of clothing in exchange for whatever takes their fancy from the collection. This, I thought, was hilarious and immediately relayed the discovery to my friend who was wearing a hat which made him look like a character from ‘Degrassi’, imploring him to exchange it for anything, ANYTHING. He wasn’t particularly amused, and so I continued on my merry way, people-watching and fashion condemning and such.

The crowd consisted primarily of backpacker types or locals in the hospitality industry who’d left Wednesday nights for good beer and downtime. A fusion of boho, grungy chic and musos, clumping together in artfully ripped jeans and converse chucks and discussing things of great significance. The whole scene brings to mind ‘La Vie Boheme’ in the musical ‘Rent’, with a rousing chorus of ‘WINE AND BEER’, although perhaps not quite so much gay innuendo.

As the evening progresses I find myself once more at the bar chatting to the relatively cute barman among two blonde Swedes in short dresses, under the guise of checking out drink prices (beers $5-$9 and wines $8-$11).

Grooving my way shamelessly back toward the group to ‘The Thong Song’ I ended the chilly Melbourne Wednesday on a high with a win at Giant Jenga, (so much more rewarding than regular Jenga victory) another glass of cheap but very nice Pinot and a couch-pillow fight that escalated to the realms of vicious.

And my car wasn’t washed away.

Not bad for hump day.