It seems we’re not the only ones who felt the three-storey, late-licence venue next to Boney was wasted as an Irish-theme pub. But transforming such a large space is not a job for the faint-hearted.
Enter Camillo Ippoliti and chef Karen Batson, whose roster already includes a swathe of iconic Melbourne venues: Revolver Upstairs on Chapel Street; The Toff in Town and Cookie in Curtin House; and Boney. Into that fold comes 62 Little Collins Street, reborn this week as Magic Mountain Saloon.
“It’s an area of town that doesn’t have much energy, but when we opened Cookie 12 years ago, that part of Swanston Street was pretty quiet, too,” Batson says. “We were the first in Curtin House and people told us we were mad to open a bar on the first-floor.”
Batson says this latest venture, “Is going to be like a vertical Cookie.” By this she means drinking and dining throughout, but with the addition of breakfast service from 7am on weekdays, and 8am on weekends.
Designed by architect and long-time collaborator Philip Schemnitz, the restaurant-bar does have something of a mountainous feel about it, with a winding staircase leading you from the ground floor wine bar up and onto a mezzanine level, which has seating, balcony viewpoints and a DJ booth. Further upwards, at the summit, is an American saloon-style bar with views across the city.
Consistent with all Ippoliti-Batson ventures, the kitchen is open late and serves Batson’s Australian take on Thai food, with an American barbeque spin on the top floor. Table service operates throughout, and you can order snacks while sitting at the bar.
The Thai slant extends to the breakfast menus, which Batson is confident will be a hit.
“We’re taking a risk and asking people to step outside of their comfort zone,” she says. “But people are game to move beyond bacon and eggs, and Thai breakfasts are delicious.”
Magic Mountain Saloon may not have a dance floor, but with two bars serving until 3am and DJs seven nights a week, there’s no doubt things will get boisterous. It’s an attitude encouraged by the owners, with Batson happy for late-night patrons to find a space, push tables aside and make their own dance floor.
Just as The Toff provides a home for those wanting to kick on after Cookie closes, Boney is just next door to Magic, and open well into the morning (8am on weekends) … just in time for you to roll back in for breakfast.
Magic Mountain Saloon
62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
(03) 9078 0078
(Only opening at midday until Monday January 19, after which breakfast service will commence)
Mon to Fri 7am–3am
Sat & Sun 8am–3am