In a suburb as sud-soaked as Collingwood, can this new craft beer bar woo Melbourne's discerning brew fans?
Lot 347 is a brand new airy bar on Smith Street filling the cavern that used to house Monty’s Café. The pitch is craft beer. Which is a good one right now. Melbourne has become an enthusiastic jug-swinging city of specialist beer lovers, and existing craft bars like the Alehouse Project, Slowbeer and East of Everything are going from strength to strength. But we wouldn’t really put Lot 347 in the same league as these places of hop worship, where eclectic single batch brews are on constant rotation.
Proprietor Stephen Trainor's heart beats more strongly for the space than for rare ales you've probably never heard of. He snapped up the lease on the Smith Street venue because it was originally an auction house where his father worked – the beer angle was apparently a late-onset inspiration.
Here, a modest bank of taps stick to the now fairly familiar stuff from Little Creatures (white, dark and their Pipsqueak cider), Mountain Goat IPA, and Moon Dog’s Love Tap double lager. The bottle list adds reliable gear from Two Birds and Holgate to the mix.
What Trainor really has going for him is the room. It’s vast, with cathedral ceilings, exposed brick and towering front windows. Sleek, dark partitions section the venue off into multiple pockets – foursomes get low tables, drinking crews get high ones, couples and singles can people-watch from the window stools or retreat to a lounge area.
You can also get some good antipasti including big rustic share plates of crisp-shelled arancini, prosciutto, pickled mushrooms and cheese, as well as squishy beer-absorbing beef sliders. That’s about it at this stage – the wine list features just two reds and two whites from Scotchman’s Hill and spirits don’t factor as yet.
This bar may not be dropping bombs with its offering, but Trainor makes for a friendly host and the modern space provides a breezy alternative to the hulking pubs and shadowy bars of the Smith strip.
|Venue name:||Lot 347|
347 Smith St
|Opening hours:||Thu-Sat 5pm-midnight; Sun 4-10pm|