While South Melbourne has long been revered for its brilliant fresh produce market and is blessed with an array of cafes including St ALi, Dead Man Espresso, Chez Dre and newcomer Clement, when it comes to eating and drinking after 5pm, the options have proved somewhat limited. But now, thanks to Kelly and Ash Cooke, the bar stakes have suddenly and dramatically improved. Enter Hercules Morse.

Converting a space that once housed a somewhat dodgy curry joint, the Cookes have created one of the finest all frills, no fuss cocktail bars around, all the while giving a modern twist on all things Britannia. The space is clean and crisp, fun and open, and there are numerous seating options to suit your mood.

The menu is filled with inspired creations care of Brad Cooke (formerly of Chin Chin), like the ‘Nanna Morse’s Cuppa’ served in the finest china, or whiskey served with fig and cigar syrup. There’s also one heck of a beer collection.

Thematically, Britain rules again on the menu stakes, with the Morse chip butty, fish fingers on toast and the fresh oysters served with gin and tonic jelly. For something a little more filling, there’s a decadent but reasonably price collection of niceties on the ‘graze’ section of the menu.

Name after a four-legged character in New Zealand famed children’s author Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary series, it’s more than likely Hercules Morse will garner a cult following of its own.

Hercules Morse
283 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9690 9402

Mon to Fri 11am–late
Sat & Sun 10am–late