It's not rare in Melbourne for a bar to be a little tricky to find; we do love a good secret. Ponyfish Island, while not hidden, definitely wins points for its unique location. You can find this little gem beneath the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge over the Yarra River. You're going to enter via the stairs and treat it as an adventure every time you visit.
Ponyfish Island was created by Grant Smiley from 360 Agency, Andrew McKinnon from Taboo Group and Jerome Borazio who brought us 100 Pound Bend and Sista Bella. The initial interior was given a big shake up by Moth Design, the crazy team behind Penthouse Mouse. Think shabby chic with hessian sacks, wooden shipping palettes and the occasional plant.
The food and drink? Think chilled out backyard BBQ. And yes, they actually have a BBQ from Thursday through Sunday dishing up chicken and haloumi burgers ($12) and deluxe beef burgers ($14). Alternatively toasties ($6) or quesadillas ($10) might sort you out. Ponyfish does brekkie too. Grab yourself raisin toast ($8.50), a potato rosti with smoked salmon ($14) or even some waffles ($12) if you're in the mood for something sweet.
When it comes to the all important beverages there are about 12 beers by the bottle here including Fat Yak, White Rabbit and Peroni, all for $9 and Carlton Draft on tap ($4.50 a pot). The wine selection is modest with three reds, three whites and three sparkings on offer. You can get yourself a bottle of Veurve Cliquot ($110) if feeling decadent. Not the champagne type? Go for the jug of Pimm's cocktails ($30); it'll do you just fine.
With well-rounded offerings and a waterfront view, Ponyfish Island's what we'd recommend on a sunny arvo for a few coldies with mates in front of the sizzling barbie.