It’s a nice approach on foot. You’ll find O’Connells in the cute-cottage district of South Melbourne’s wide backstreets looking like it’s been airlifted from the UK. While this isn’t a Brit pub, there’s definitely an old world flavour. Crisp white garden furniture is clustered on the footpath. Sports memorabilia fills the walls inside. It’s fancy stuff, mind – there’s a picture of some cricket legends from 1948, and an oar from the Torquay Life Saving Club, thanking them for support. History plays its part, but the O’Connell’s is no slouch when it comes to pouring a crafty pint – there’s 2 Brothers American grizzly, 4 Pines Extra Special Bitter and Moo Brew. Strangely, it’s the Peroni that will set you back most at $8.50 a pot. Follow the suited ad execs to the dining room for linen napkins, polished glassware and scallops with chestnut purée by a roaring fire. Or stick to the public bar where tables are inlaid with mini-TVs that let you flick from the baseball to the footy. Out here the eats a little more casual, but you’re still looking at a chilli-laden spaghetti Marinara (fresh!), winey lamb shanks with mash and jus (rib-sticking!) and Pyengar cheddar cheeseboards (cheese!). There’s not much in the way of vegetarian eats save a soup. But who needs dinner when there’s a stack of chocolate meringues, caramel and fresh banana for dessert? No-one.
407 Coventry St