Catering maestro Bruce Keebaugh is taking a nimble event-planner approach to The Commons on St Kilda Road, closing the beer garden for winter and opening Bar Moubray, a vintage wood-panelled parlour with a just-back-from-the-fox-hunt feel. "It's the perfect winter space, cosy and warm with wintry food and great drinks," he says.
Ordering food by phone isn't not novel but Bar Moubray puts a fun retro spin on it: black dial-up telephones await at private booths and diners are encouraged to pick up the receiver to order libations. (It's even possible to call the handsome gent or gal at the next table.) The cocktail list is dotted with distinguished classics: there's a Sazerac with six-year-old rye whisky and a Dark 'n' Stormy with rum, ginger beer and lime.
The food is comforting and winter friendly - think chicken and barley soup, a pie of mushroom, leek and gruyere, schnitzel with apple slaw and braised lamb shoulder with creamy potato mash. Snacks include prawn cigars, chorizo and sweet potato croquettes, and oozy baked triple cream cheese with peppered figs.
The Commons is also running Winter Games Fest during the Olympics between July 23 and August 8. Come for the beer marquee, food trucks, karaoke and sport on the big screen.
Bar Moubray, Ormond Collective, 557 St Kilda Road (enter via Moubray Street), Melbourne, 0437 004 372, thebiggroup.com.au.
Open Thurs-Sat 11am-late, Sunday 11am-3pm