If you’re looking to par-tee, head to Holey Moley. This huge, multi-level CBD space is a colourful fun house of 27 whacky themed holes, neon lights, crazy cocktails and pumping pop music. Puns are par for the course here, and once you’re in the golfing spirit (the complimentary visor helps) you won’t think twice before putting your way through the melting clock madness of ‘Sorry Ms Jackson (I Am Surreal)’ or taking a selfie at the Game of Thrones Iron Throne made entirely from golf clubs.
Serious American barbecue happens at Fancy Hank’s. The meat comes from out east in Gippsland, meaning the smoky beef brisket is as punchy as ever, as is the pulled pork shoulder and whole rack of pork ribs. Try the crisp-skinned buttermilk brined chicken if you need a break from the red meat and go big with sides including potato salad, mac and cheese and Kentucky-style coleslaw. Pair your meal with a Little Creatures brew which regularly features on tap at the bar or take a peek upstairs at their rooftop bar Good Heavens for a brew with a view. You won’t regret it.
Little Creatures Brewery in South Geelong is an ode to the fine art of brewing. Taking over an old wool mill and spinning it into a multipurpose space, the huge brewery village (yes, it’s that big) also featuring a cinema, canteen, pizzeria, and the White Rabbit Barrel Hall filled with barrels of aging ales. Drop in en route to the Great Ocean Road and try some beers like Little Creatures’ signature Pale Ale, Rogers’ and Dog Days.
A few hundred metres from Southern Cross Station is VIRI, a thoroughly entertaining 80-minute experience that has you fighting aliens, defending a castle from invaders and walking on a beam suspended above a city street, all in virtual reality. You’ll get to dodge lasers, Matrix-style, during a hostile space craft battle; slice through pineapples with virtual katana blades with Fruit Ninja; or even get into a virtual bar fight and get knocked on your virtual arse. It’s bizarrely rapturous and delightfully fun.
Three cheers for this old-school pub, which rocks one of the most diverse and forward-thinking entertainment line-ups in town. On any given night you’ll find punters of all ages, genders and sexualities sinking pints of Little Creatures beers, smashing parmas and standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the mezzanine level of the Gaso’s 350-person bandroom. In the warmer months, the bandroom’s huge moon roof pulls back, so that the sun streams in or, by night, people party under a canopy of stars.
Leave the sleeping bag at home, but bring your holiday pants to this inner-city trailer park grilling great burgers and spiking their shakes. Grand Trailer Park Taverna, located near the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, takes its cues from vintage holidays with a bunch of vintage Airstreams sandwiched inside for private pow wows between friends. They have Little Creatures Pale Ale up for grabs if it's drinks you're after. Pair it with GTPT's basic cheeseburger the KSA – that stands for kick some ass. It’s a beef patty with American cheddar melted onto it, topped with tomato, butter lettuce, the house’s specialty burger sauce and mustard on a brioche bun.
Did you know the Duke of Wellington Hotel is Melbourne’s oldest pub? Yep, this central pub has been slinging cold beers and bar snacks since 1853 and to this day they’ll still have you covered for all your after-work needs. The minimalist public bar is ringed by comfortable banquettes and there’s always big screens playing AFL highlights. Even on a Monday, there’s plenty of loosened ties enjoying a pint and a banter, proving the Duke’s position as a CBD favourite. Bonus points: the Duke offer three of Little Creatures' celebrated beers, including their signature Pale Ale, Bright Ale and IPA.
Opening in 2016, QT Melbourne has made quite a splash in the city, mostly thanks to its eccentric style. You’ll find digital art flickering throughout the hotel, and rooms have an orient-meets-Wall Street vibe with timber floorboards, glamorous ensuites and QT’s “please-don’t-make-me-get-up-I-don’t-want-to-get-up” gel-topped beds. If you’re imagining a millennial Patrick Bateman’s apartment (without the hidden bodies, natch) you’ll be right on the money. Make sure you get up to the rooftop for some seriously celestial people watching.
San Telmo doesn’t muck around. This gaucho steakhouse is like being transported to Buenos Aires, with hanger steak, battered broccoli and fat polenta chips available to make you very, very happy. It’s a memorable meal, made even more unforgettable by the space itself: step into this temple de carne and you’ll come face to face with an open kitchen and its centrepiece parilla, where hot coals are shovelled around and meat is grilled to perfection.
If you’re up for a journey to the suburbs, Heide Museum of Modern Art houses some of Melbourne’s best modernist works as well as some stellar contemporary works. This synthesis of indoor and outdoor art spans over 16 acres, with a beautiful sculpture park to explore at your leisure. Heide was once the home of celebrated Australian artists Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and Arthur Boyd who alternately lived, worked and played here in the 1940s.