Morris House, a four-storey pub on the corner of Exhibition Street and Little Collins Street, has lived several lives since it was built in 1924, and was most recently the European Bier Cafe. The sprawling heritage building relaunched in July after a major renovation with distinct offerings on each level and capacity for up to 730 punters.
New owners Australian Venue Co, the group behind the Auburn Hotel and Garden State Hotel among others, worked with Red Design Group for a Jazz Age redux of the interiors. The decor reflects the building’s history while adding European flair with clean whites and muted greens alongside brass fixtures and round-backed leather booths. In the basement, one feature has been retained: a dedicated 100-seat comedy club.
Established comics will try out material every Friday and Saturday night in a room reminiscent of New York clubs like the famous Comedy Cellar. You can also stop by during the week and catch comedian Arj Barker at his Tuesday night residency, which kicked off last week and finishes at the end of September.
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Casual dining is the main event on the ground floor, with executive chef Christian Abbott describing the menu as “Australiana nostalgia”, while also featuring New York-inspired bagels and burgers, modern pub staples including kingfish ceviche and burrata, and classics such as steaks and two sizes of chicken parma. The Sunday lunch menu features a truffled beef Wellington with all the trimmings, while dessert includes whipped New York cheesecake with boozy Manhattan cocktail-inspired jelly.
On the second floor you’ll find a bar with live jazz performed on weekends and a balcony looking over Exhibition Street. There’s a condensed version of the ground floor menu with charcuterie and small bites, such as truffle arancini, as well as an agave-based cocktail menu. Up on the rooftop you’ll find another expansive bar with retractable roof and the full dining room menu available.
The signature drink? An Iced Vovo Margarita. “We make our own frozen Margarita in the slushie machine, rim the glass with 50/50 salt and desiccated coconut, and do a Chambord float on top,” says venue manager Dylan Hewlett. “It tastes like an iced vovo biscuit, but deliciously alcoholic.”
120 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
(03) 8563 0080
Sun to Thu 11.30am–11pm
Fri & Sat 11.30am–late