Few people know Aussie beer like renowned writer and brewer Willie Simpson, so when he calls a venue “the best beer bar in the land” it’s time to pay attention. Since opening early in 2008, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda has been tearing through 200 different beers a year on its 20 taps and fighting the craft beer cause in an area of Melbourne that has seen its pubs slowly disappear from the landscape.
With wood panels and beer memorabilia creating a warm and welcoming traditional pub feel reminiscent of a vintage 1930s European beer tavern, the bar opened by self-confessed beer nuts Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone is at the forefront of the crusade for better beer. It hosts monthly Ale Star beer appreciation sessions, themed SpecTAPular beerfests that draw huge crowds to sample beers often rarely, if ever, found on tap anywhere in Australia. Tasting paddles allow drinkers to sample a range of beers before deciding on their favourites while regular showcases give brewers the chance to put their entire range of beers on tap at once.
There's a great upstairs beer garden, tasty pub grub cooked – and matched – with beer, a carefully selected bottled beer list and knowledgeable bar staff, making it little wonder the bar – along with its sister venue in Darlinghurst – has picked up a swag of national awards.
More recently, additional spaces have been opened, including extra rooftop spots and a dining / function room that comes complete with a bocce court. Not only that, one of the SpecTAPulars that debuted at the venue – the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular – has morphed into the epic Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) that closes out Good Beer Week at the Royal Exhibition Building each May and now hits the road for Sydney too.