A lover of music and a desire to travel the world, Unibar’s youngest manager, Nathan Stratton is destined for more than just pouring beers.
When Nathan Stratton finished school he had “absolutely no intention of going to uni.” Yet he spends almost six days a week at the University of Wollongong.
Six months ago, Nathan or ‘strat’, agreed to a full-time managerial position at the social epicenter for all University of Wollongong (UOW) students- the cherished Unibar- A place where some of the countries top music artists come to perform alongside a handful the country’s fresh, new talent.
“I’ve seen some pretty amazing bands perform here,” Nathan happily boasts, however wearily admits,
“I’m getting a little tired of pouring beers and watching from the sidelines.”
After two years in a supervising position, Nathan “fell in love with the lifestyle” of a university student. With a growing aspiration to spread his wings, he finally decided to enroll into an Arts degree and begin his life on the other side of the beer tap.
He cuts an impressive figure behind the bar, standing at almost 2 meters. With his long, blond almost white hair, the 26-year-old Wollongong local instantly stands out.
Grinning at the suggestion that he may have Scandinavian roots, Nathan admits- “I’ve actually gotten that question quite a lot.”
In the professional world, Nathan looks like any other bar manager- Plain, fitted suit with a tie to show superiority amongst his colleagues, however it isn’t until the working day is done, that Nathan shows his real colours.
For three years now, Nathan has been the bass player for a five-member band described by Triple J Unearthed as “’fuzzy indie’ with pop twists and rock n roll riff.”
“I guess our biggest influences are probably Smashing Pumpkins, The Dandy Warhols or Sonic Youth.” It’s increasingly apparent that Nathans band, ‘Yardvark’ is a unique throw back to the 1990’s grunge era.
Having already played gigs in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, Nathan and his other band members hope to someday “make it big” on the international scene, and his passion has rubbed off on his younger brother, Riley who is the member of an indie band, Rocking Horse and Baby Dolls.
As the manager of unibar, Nathan is partly responsible for choosing many of the acts that get to play to the thousands of students each year, “Maybe I could book myself some more gigs” he laughs. Yet, with the overwhelming support he receives from friends and colleagues, it may not be such a bad idea.
“From what I’ve seen, Yardvark are fucking awesome.” Jaimee Mulder is quick to attach her disclaimer- “And I’m not just sayng this because he’s my boss.”
Having grown up in the sleepy, coastal town of Austinmer and lived in surrounding areas all his life, Nathan endeavors for greener pastures. “It’s funny, I’ve been meaning to get out of Wollongong for so long. But I haven’t. I’m still here.”
Many of his friends and family hope to see Nathan and Yardvark reach international status and Nathan is quietly optimistic that one day he and his band will be sipping on a cold beer on the balcony of a European five-star hotel.
“I’d love to go to Europe.” Nathan adds, “I want to pack my bags right now, and just go.”