An English eccentric to its bootstraps, this city basement bar makes warmth and hospitality seem deceptively elementary
As far as Ye Olde English pubs in Melbourne go, the Sherlock Holmes never misses a clue. Down a flight of steps from Queen Street, past the framed Sherlock comic strips, this cosy basement pub is encased in ancient brick and beams, decorated with old wooden beer signs and prints of colonial tall ships. It's a welcome retreat from the rainy Melbourne streets, the full bar of a dinnertime ringing with amicable chatter.
An excellent and often changing list of English pub ales dominates the 19 taps, this month with crackers like Old Speckled Hen and Greene King London Glory, the latter a cask conditioned, traditional English ale. Molasses sweet and barely carbonated, it’s a trip back to Old Blighty in a pint. You’ll also find Tennent’s, Kilkenny and Tetley’s alongside the inoffensive (Carlton, Boag’s) and the local craft (Hargreaves Hill ESB, Barrow Boys Stormy). Service is chipper and helpful, but won’t think twice about reminding a cheeky punter to keep a civil tongue.
The menu is mostly brown and grey foods, in the great British tradition. Bangers and mash, beef and Guinness pie, corned beef with cabbage (our pick of the menu) and fish and chips are all on offer, and while they’re not exactly topping the charts in flair or flavour, these vittles are true to form for a trad English pub, and will definitely warm you up on a cold night.
There’s trivia every Tuesday night hosted by comedian Janet McLeod, and the AFL is always on, although easy to avoid if you’d just rather chat. Generally favoured by Burnley FC supporters, the Sherlock will happily play any English Premier League football match if you give them a bit of notice, even staying open for the super-late games for loyal supporters (who know how to behave themselves at least – the good detective won’t stand for any foul play).
There's an attitude at work here, from the freshness of the beer to the perfectly chalked specials boards to the neat toilets. Unlike so many other CBD pubs that know they can get away with being a bit grotty, the Sherlock is more like his companion Dr. Watson, militarily tidy and unflappable. To that we say: jolly good show, and carry on.
|Venue name:||The Sherlock Holmes|
415 Collins St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm; Thu-Fri 11.30am-late; Sat 2pm-late|
|Transport:||Nearby stations: Flinders St; Southern Cross|