From the street, Fitzroy’s Little Creatures Dining Hall appears large, imposing and barnlike. It’s a first impression that doesn’t always endear it to passers-by, particularly on busy nights when punters can be seen queuing up to get their drink on. But behind the (huge) façade lies a venue which, while thoroughly engineered for the promotion of the Little Creatures brand, has a good many points in its favour. It is vast, but has been divided into sections of relatively manageable size; a cosier room in front which overlooks the street, a casual drinking area with tables which seat up to ten and a large dining section which fills the rear of the venue. It’s a well-designed space with a style that could be described as industrial retro; plywood panels and exposed steel roof beams give it the air of a very large, longstanding popup bar, a few bold splashes of colour lend warmth and among the more eye-catching features are light fittings cleverly made from clusters of brown bottles. The bar has an off license (Little Creatures products only, of course), and there is a fleet of hefty, old fashioned bicycles for hire.
The waitstaff and bartenders are highly efficient, as they’d have to be with such a large space and a lot of people to look after. The kitchen is completely open to view from the dining area, placing the poor chefs on permanent display. Families with children are a common sight: there was even a baby shower on the night of our recent visit, which was either an admirably selfless move on the expectant mother’s part or a terrible bit of planning on someone else’s. Friday and Saturday nights are a different scene: the families go home, more dedicated drinkers take over and things get fairly crowded. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea (or pot of pilsner) but Little Creatures does nicely for a casual meal or an afternoon drink.