For a bar right in the heart of West End, The Melbourne Hotel isn’t exactly what you would expect. Rather than the smaller, more alternative venues you normally see in this area, this establishment is based on the classic pub- live sports, pokies, pub food- you name it. While this isn’t normally my kind of scene, I visited here with friends one night on whim, and honestly had a great time.

The Melbourne Hotel has a really nice modern and clean interior. It is very large and spacious with big, high tables, so even when it’s busy you don’t feel claustrophobic or restricted. The drinks menu has a great range of everything from beer, spirits, wine, ciders, cocktails and girly (and not so girly) shots. The Melbourne doesn’t specialise in any particular drink so it’s a good place to go if you want a well rounded selection.

The food is mainly classic pub food like chick parma, ribs and onion rings. While these dishes are always delicious, I will offer a word of advice- they may be better eaten on a night when you want to go home and fall into a food coma rather than paint the town red. In saying that, the menu also offers options like fish, and large range of starters and share plates if you’re after something lighter.

For me, the pokies added a real novelty as the places I usually visit don’t often have pokie machines. I have been playing the iPhone slots game and now consider myself to be quite an expert at gambling. However, unfortunately, unlike the game, in real life your money is not replenished every 4 hours, and after quite a few losses I decided this was a sign I should quit while I was ahead. In spite of my defeat, one of my friends persevered and won, and then generously decided to shout everybody drinks all night. Needless to say, this made my experience of the Melbourne Hotel even more enjoyable and I definitely plan to go back (with the same lucky friend of course)!

Margaux Creagh