Despite being one of the most pub-blessed places in the land, South Melbourne doesn’t enjoy a reputation for thigh-slapping knees-ups. That’s about to change. Jason Chan, co-founder of West Winds Gin and Plenty café has commandeered the Southern Cross Hotel on Cecil Street, and is in the midst of turning it into a bourbon-, beer- and burger-loving dive bar/frat house. “I’ve bought a fluoro sign that says Jack lives here,” Chan tells us. That’s Jack Daniels, and live here he will. “The area has great pubs, but everyone’s fighting to offer $5 parmas. We want this to be the place you come for stupid fun – for whisky and a tinnie. If you’re wearing a tie past 10pm, you can expect to get it cut off.” Brace yourself for grapefruit-tequila Palomas on tap, fried chicken by the half or whole bird and a solid beer list – although sorry, Peroni fans, “we’re not doing bottles – only cans.” Chan is hoping to open late March. 

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Hats and Tats details

78 Cecil St

South Melbourne 3205

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