Wilhelminas and the joy of having a local

Do you have a local? There is something special about having a local place where you can drop by, hang out, have a drink and a chat.

I’ve had the theme song from Cheers in my head this week. If you grew up in the 80’s, you’ll know the iconic piano intro and the lyrics, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”. Now you have it in your head (sorry).

The lyrics got me thinking about Wilhelminas, my favourite local bar in Balmain. I often joke that Wilhelminas is my Cheers bar. It’s my third place – you have home as your first place; work as your second place; and then a cafe, club, park or (in my case) bar as your third place.


Christopher Peterson (Ph.D.) in his article, Happy Places: Third Places, puts it beautifully:

Third places contribute to the life worth living. They root us; they give us an identity; they restore us; they support us. Bottom line: They allow us to be us. And everyone knows our name.

The team at Wilhelminas have seen me through everything – bad dates, good dates (okay, mostly bad), family dramas, redundancies, birthdays, gin days and just because days. They always remember my favourite drink. They’re friendly, sweet, kind and generous. Some of the team have moved on to other places, but we’ve remained friends. I’ve brought my friends to the local and formed beautiful new friendships with people I’ve met at the bar (in fact, two of them are standing at the bar in the main photo). So many fun times together. Love you guys.


If you’re reading this Wilhelminas peeps past and present, you make life worth living. You ground me; you give me identity; you restore me; you support me. Bottom line: you allow me to be me. And everybody knows my name (even if I forget mine after a few gins). Thank you for being my local.

What’s your third place? It doesn’t have to be a bar. It could be the local cafe where the barista remembers your coffee, a local pool or a bench in the park. It’s simply somewhere you can be you.

May you find your happy place this weekend. Cheers!

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