El Loco at Slip Inn
Time Out says
A Mexican hideout in the heart of the city
This inner-city pub might be famous for bringing together our Mary and Prince Frederik of Denmark, but times have changed since those heady, black-Amex days. From the outside the Slip Inn looks much as it ever did, but inside things have gone south of the border. And we mean Mexico here, not Melbourne. El Loco’s takeover of the formerly grungy Excelsior Hotel went so well they’ve branched out and taken over the sunken beer garden that taunts drivers stuck on the City Westlink with its colourful lights and party tunes – if only all incursions resulted in colourful bunting and tacos. To make the well-tailored crowds feel as far from the office as possible there are bamboo awnings, palms and potted trees, tables topped in decorative contact paper and a stereo playing anything from Madonna to Hilltop Hoods so long as it has mass appeal. Of course you can get a Heineken, Kirin or White Rabbit on tap, but we prefer to stay on-theme with bottles of Dos Equis, Pacifico and Negra Modelo. You can order tacos, quesadillas, hot dogs and a Cuban sandwich of spit-roasted pork and smoked ham until midnight, or their Mexican take on the pub steak with a tender minute steak with a spiced, fresh-tomato salsa and spiced chipotle fries at a more sensible dinner hour. Like a backpacker who can't decide which international location expresses them best, now that the Slip Inn had mastered the Mexican vibes they’re in the process of launching a Thai menu at lunchtime. Add that to the Chinese Laundry nightclub downstairs and it’s a veritable United Nations on Sussex Street.