Many of South Melbourne’s fleet of old pubs have either been gussied up or have sadly closed up in the last year – even the once delightfully scuzzy Southern Cross Hotel is becoming a bourbon and burger bar. But the Maori Chief is holding out as one of the last examples of classic pub excellence. It’s one of those grand old corner buildings with decorative plaster trim and slightly peeling paint resembling a wedding cake left in the sun. But it’s what’s inside that counts here, and that’s rugby, pool and frosty jugs of Budvar and Carlton, properly pulled. They even do takeaways over the bar if you fancy a traveller, because they’re nice like that here. There are seats out front, but we’re all about claiming the rooftop deck on sunny afternoons and taking in the CBD’s glittering skyscrapers. At lunch, ad execs and tradies crowd around the Laminex tables in the dining tables for solid pub classics like your bangers and mash. Or if ‘why not?’ is your middle name, Mex up your parma with salami and chilli con carne all smothered in melted cheese, guac and corn chips. Bands play every second week but this is a rugby pub, filling up with New Zealanders at every game who shout at the telly while knocking back Tui beers and Monteith’s black ale. Choice as.