When your focus is trained on bringing an impressive number of craft drinks together under one banner, it seems only natural you’d also want to showcase them under one roof.
And that’s the mantra that runs through The Mighty Moonee Ponds, which opened in Melbourne’s north in late 2020. The venue itself is a sprawling neighbourhood watering hole and bottleshop built to showcase the beers, spirits and other drinks that are part of the ever-growing Mighty Craft family. The ASX-listed craft beverage accelerator launched in 2017 as Founders First and, at time of writing, counted breweries Ballistic, Jetty Road, Foghorn, Sauce, Slipstream and Sparkke under the banner, as well as a number of other alcoholic drinks producers.
They all find a home within a space that was previously part of the Sporting Globe network: now bright, open and featuring an impressive range of distinct areas in which to enjoy the Mighty Craft lineup. Approach from Mt Alexander Road and you pretty quickly get the feeling it’s a little grander in ambition than many other pubs too.
The public bar has two banks of taps, each featuring ten beers, with Jetty Road taking up most of them due to being the nearest member of the Mighty Craft family to the venue. You’ll find many of their stablemates pouring regularly too, although if you’re after fresh beer from FogHorn, sibling venue The Mighty Hunter Valley is the place to be.
The overarching atmosphere is best described as casual, whether you’re stopping in for a quick pint of pale or eager to discover something new through one of the venue’s flights of beer or gin. Or, indeed, if your primary concern is more about socialising than sensory exploration – be that afterwork knock-offs with colleagues, a session with mates, or a family catchup with a meal – the long, white-tiled bar and wide share tables are designed for that too.
The same can be said of the atrium, where two storeys of windows make for an incredibly light-filled space, one where olive trees and the neighbouring beer garden help create the feeling of relaxing far away from Moonee Pond’s bustle; well, save for the noise of trams rolling by.
Head downstairs and you’ll reach the bistro, where the booths and low ceiling make things a little more intimate. It offers views of the kitchen, led by local chef Adrian Corigliano, following a stint at Melbourne’s now-closed Dinner by Heston, who brought some of the team with him.
Upstairs, the vibe is of a more tropical bent: palm tree patterns line the walls and cocktails are order of the day. There’s a space out back with a retractable roof too, not open at the time of writing but due early in 2021.
If, along the way, you fall for any of the myriad drinks on offer, a bottleshop and beer-filled fridge sit in the middle of The Mighty.
Taken as a whole, the Mighty name feels rather appropriate, both in terms of the variety of venues-within-a-venue and the craft-brands-within-one-family ethos of the overarching operation.
Tasting paddle of four beers, a spot of gin sampling, a hearty feed, and a take-home mixed six and bottle of gin? Mission accomplished.