Moonee Ponds' new Holmes Hall is a good bet for getting on the beers

Holmes Hall has transformed a dilapidated supermarket into a local watering hole.
Holmes Hall has transformed a dilapidated supermarket into a local watering hole. Photo: Scott McNaughton

THEME: GET ON THE BEERS

How beautifully fitting it is that as Melbourne emerges blinking into the light, at the end of a year that has reinforced the power and value of community, we are given new places to gather, enjoy, connect and celebrate.

Moonee Ponds is not overrun with contemporary venues to eat and drink; Holmes Hall goes a long way to remedying the situation, turning a dilapidated suburban supermarket into an open-armed local lounge room with a beer focus, tasty food and a stay-a-while vibe. 

Cauliflower 'wings' with vegan ranch dipping sauce.
Cauliflower 'wings' with vegan ranch dipping sauce. Photo: Scott McNaughton

The 500-square-metre venue is owned by a trio of mid-20s guys who live locally, partners David Bartl and Jacob Bettio and their best mate Lachlan Taylor. The trio opened food truck park Ascot Lot in 2017 as their first stab at jazzing up the area.

Holmes Hall is decidedly more ambitious – it's a place that will see Moonee Valley drifters wondering about going to Brunswick or Fitzroy for a night out then remembering they don't need to anymore. 

Why not stay local when there are 20 tap beers, a juicy cocktail menu and brew-friendly food? Why venture yonder when it's comfortable to land here no matter what?

Pan-seared duck breast with baked potato terrine and carrot puree.
Pan-seared duck breast with baked potato terrine and carrot puree. Photo: Scott McNaughton

Brew hounds, dressed up daters, a multi-generational family, mates hankering for a pinball and shuffleboard session, friends in need of a massive post-lockdown gossip: everyone fits right in.

Why spend time travelling when you could be here already, eating panko-crumbed spice-forward chicken parma, squid dusted with Sichuan pepper, or golden-roasted cauliflower "wings" slathered with an iridescent chilli glaze and served with vegan ranch dressing?

The corner site includes the associated Fizz & Hop indie bottle shop, a sheltered beer garden and a variety of indoor spaces that find a nice balance between distinct and flowing. Toilets are unisex – put the seat down, guys!

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The outdoor wall has a large mural of Dan Andrews advising Victorians that it is finally time to "get on the beers".

It's light-hearted but also poignant, a reminder of what we've been through and what we've achieved by being alone together.

If you're a Valley girl or guy, it would be hard to think of a better place than here to toast our hard-earned COVID-safe summer.

The Daniel Andrews mural on the exterior of Holmes Hall and Fizz & Hop.
The Daniel Andrews mural on the exterior of Holmes Hall and Fizz & Hop. Photo: Scott McNaughton

Holmes Hall 15 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds, 0433 435 322, facebook.com/holmeshallbar

Open Wed-Thu 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sun noon-late

Prices Snacks: $7.50-$14; Mains: $18.50-$35; Desserts: $12.50

Also try

Two Rupees Brewing

Sri Lankan-born lager fans Danny Perera and Amila Mendis are crafting brews in a rustic indoor-outdoor setting in the south-east. Come in to sip summer refreshers  such as the pineapple and apricot sour.

69 Renvers Road, Clayton, 03 9548 7396, tworupeesbrewing.com.au

Henry Street Brewhouse

Putting the micro into microbrewery, craft beers are lovingly made in tiny batches and served in the friendly brew bar. The Monsieur Grey IPA is a nice summery option – it's infused with Earl Grey tea for a bit of a bergamot blast. 

5/38 Barrett Street, Kensington, 0490 753 993, henrystbrewhouse.com.au

Hobsons Bay Hotel

There are 11 beers on tap at the revamped three-level pub which has just reopened with a refined pub grub menu. Beer-battered fish 'n' chips and a pot of Balter are best enjoyed from the rooftop deck with views across the bay to the city skyline.

28 Ferguson Street, Williamstown, hobsonsbayhotel.com.au

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