Time Out Melbourne

 Comedy and craft brews, right in the centre of the city


Long before a million brewery bars came along to paddle us silly with endless esoteric beers, there was the James Squire Brewhouse. And there’s still life yet in those big copper tanks that glow bright in this popular CBD pub. Beer is the obvious beverage of choice here. You can order a six-sample paddle of the James Squire fleet, made just metres away from your seat and even take a tour, if the mood strikes. But there’s Heineken, cider and a short but easy drinking list of local wines if you're a natural born defector. Off to the right is the restaurant side of the building. It’s here you’ll find your pub favourites dressed up with some mod-Oz flare: roasted kangaroo fillet rubbed with herby, cuminy chermoula and a parma with a three cheese glaze. It gets the job done, but we’re usually drawn to the Portland for its other charms. Upstairs and down are function rooms where comedians come for glory during the Comedy festival. On the bar side downstairs, there’s live sport on the big screens, and punters lining up their coins to take a run at the pool tables. We’re also all for a barman who promotes an upgrade from pots to pints for “beer value.” They ride the waves of change here, and retain a local vibe in the heart of the city. Shine on, copper friend.

Comedy every Thursday night at 8pm:
The Big Hoo Haa - The Melbourne iteration of Perth's longest running and most successful improv comedy night, The Big Hoo Haa is improvised comedy at its absolute funniest: minimal pretension, maximum straight for the throat hilarity. Featuring a rotating cast of some of the finest improv comedians from Melbourne, Perth and elsewhere, The Big Hoo Haa is two hours of slightly manic, ramshackle entertainment. A perfect way of getting into comedy if the whole 'single person on a stage telling jokes about how awful their life is' model of stand-up doesn't appeal.

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Updated on 7 May 2015.

By Hilary Simmons   |  

Portland Hotel details

127 Russell St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9810 0064

Nearby Stations: Flinders Street

Open Mon-Thu 11am-midnight; Fri 11am-2am; Sat, Sun 11am-midnight

Portland Hotel website

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