Every few weeks, we visit the working studio of a creative company and make some end-of-week drinks with them. This week, we hung out in Melbourne’s most hospitable bike store with Pony Bikes’ Sasha Strickland.
Pony Bikes could be in the running for Melbourne’s most hospitable bike store. Former chef and barista Sasha Strickland’s got the couch and the coffee machine set up to keep you comfortable while she fixes your fixie.
We caught up with Strickland and the mechanics during Pony Bike’s weekly staff knockoff for a round of Negronis.
CREV: So how did you get into pushbikes?
Sasha Strickland: I’ve always been into bikes. I’ve been into bikes since I was 13, when I pulled apart my first bike. And that’s where the whole mechanical thing came from. Bikes were always transport – I’m 35 and I’ve only just gotten my license.
Do you guys do after work drinks often?
We do hang out regularly: we had a barbecue last weekend and we have knockoffs every week on a Friday or Saturday. But every couple of weeks I’ll say ‘come over and let me feed you’. This is the chef in me that still cooks. It’s important that they don’t see you as bossman (or bosswoman) – they see you as a person. This place is different to other bike shops, so I need people to be different.
Why is it important to hang out for staffies after work?
It’s morale building. In this industry, particularly. As you can see with what I’m doing here, I don’t hire just mechanics. I need people that can do hospitality and don’t grunt at people. I need them to understand how I feel about this business, and for them to be able to deliver it in the same way.
Which bars in Melbourne do like to hang out in?
I used to love Prudence. I DJ as well and my first gig here in Melbourne was at Prudence. I love Eau De Vie, just because they’re doing different things. It’s not somewhere that I go regularly. The menu is amazing, the way it’s written and the way it’s laid out. Workshop, upstairs on Elizabeth Street too. It’s pretty rough, but as far as the vibe is concerned, it’s a really nice open room, there’s a decent bar, and it’s got a terrace area out back that’s pretty cool.
What is it that makes those places awesome?
What makes a bar is the bartender. I think that’s the thing. They can take any kind of place and make it awesome.
The reason I like somewhere like Polly’s on Brunswick Street is the bartender. He’s from Ireland and they’ve sponsored him because he knows his shit.
At Pony Bikes, Sasha was making her bike mechanics some Dark & Stormys and some refreshing Negronis, mixed with a finger.
Layer ingredients over ice, squeeze in a twist of orange, mix with a finger.
Layer ingredients and stir. Enjoy in bikes shop with mechanics.
343 Victoria Street, West Melbourne, Victoria