It’s the holy grail of anyone who is a parent. Somewhere cool to eat, drink, socialise and also bring your rug rats along. Which is why Stomping Ground opening up in Collingwood is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen in Melbourne all year.
Located in a series of converted warehouses in Collingwood’s back streets, Stomping Ground first impresses with its sheer scale. The place has an industrial feel to it with the brewery gleaming behind glass windows, a large central bar and various seating options including a courtyard area with a retractable roof for sunny days. It’s similar in ambition to the Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong.
Stomping Ground is brought to you by the people behind the excellent Local Tap House so the beer is on point. There’s a range of beers brewed in house, and even a fun sampler option where you get to try all of them, alongside a limited section of wines and spirits. My vote goes to the Stomping Ground Grabdstand pale ale which is a lightly fruity, smooth easy drinking beer. It’s hard to stop at just one or two.
The food is fairly simple. There are big bowls of steaming mussels ($26) and small round steaks with crispy french fries. It’s not cutting edge cuisine but it’s the sort of thing that goes well with a few drinks.
In particular the house made parsnip ribbons ($6) are like a posh vegie chip and the perfect beer accompaniment. A bit more choice would be welcome and I look forward to returning once Stomping Ground’s wood fired oven is ready to churn out pizzas.
There’s a kids menu as well with some plain pasta and chicken and rice options aimed at fussy rather than adventurous little eaters. But what really makes this a kids (and therefore parents) paradise is the amazing three storey cubby house in one corner of Stomping Ground. My three year old spent a good hour there playing and allowing her parents some welcome down time. Colouring pencils and paper is also on offer but is no competition to the cubby house palace.
From the parents of Melbourne all I can say is THANK YOU STOMPING GROUND. For the rest of you, don’t worry, the space is so huge that you can enjoy your beers in peace just by staying away from the tables next to the cubby house. Who knew hipster beards and babies could so cheerfully coexist?
Details: Stomping Ground, 100 Gipps street, Collingwood (Ph (03) 9415 1944)
Kids: YES. There are high chairs, a change table, a kids play area, kids menu and colouring stuff. Pretty much the most child friendly venue in Melbourne.