We’re sitting at a small table in the front bar of the Shakey and Em tells me this is Nola’s spot. I see Nola’s name written on a reserved sign Em says is permanent.

“Nola is ninety and she lives across the road, she’s been a local forever. This spot is reserved for her all the time, that’s her seat,” says Em.

Nola is one of the many locals that make up the big Shakey family.

Em’s been at the pub for five years and has been managing the pub for eighteen months now. Before that, it was one of the first spots she took her girlfriend on a date. When she’s not at the Shakey, Em plays soccer in the Premier League 2, the third highest tier in NSW.

“I just love it. Been playing all my life, twenty-five years. Two of my team mates actually work here too, Anna and Nicola.”

“I think women’s soccer has more exposure in the media now, but like, all men at our level get paid and not every woman at our level gets paid.”

“What I love about the Shakey is the strong community vibe, everyone looks out for each other and everyone is welcome. There’s an eclectic mix of people that drink together here. It doesn’t matter where you’re from you’ll always bump into an old mate or make a new one – it’s diverse and vibrant, but still maintains its old school charm.”

“This pub is owned by women, the licensee is a woman, I don’t know any other pub like it.”

What’s next for Em? “My partner is having a baby, our first baby, in like six weeks. Then hopefully I’ll finish my nursing degree.”

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STOP PRESS: Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, The Shakey is currently closed. You can still support them through this tough time by purchasing their takeaway options. The Shakey are now selling take away booze and food through its little window on Steel Street. They have adjusted the price of their booze to compete with the big bottle shops and the food offering will be a selection of your fave Shakey dishes.

More info here: https://www.shakespearehotel.com.au/