There is one place that is totally worth it: South Melbourne.
If you are indeed feeling a little worse for wear, beer and oysters might be the last thing you want to set eyes upon, never mind consume. Bear with me, though, because in my experience there is no more perfect way to chase away a hangover than with a pint (or three) of Guinness, paired with freshly shucked market oysters. You will feel even better when you find that, at the South Melbourne Market, they are sold from the adjoining Oyster Bar for a measly $1 per “shot”. Supremely ocean-fresh, fat and juicy Coffin Bay (South Australia) oysters, paid for by what lies beneath the cushions? Yes, you read correctly.
Take your treasure trove of bivalve molluscs over to the nearby Drop Bear Inn where you will find among the best pints of Guinness to be had anywhere in Australia. This fantastic backpackers pub (open to the general public) is headed up by the awesome Melinda Beacroft, who on my visit greeted me and my posse with not only immaculately poured pints of the black stuff, but a heartily warm welcome as well. No request was too big or too small. She even sent us away with a Guinness pint glass!
Oyster fans may already know this, however it is always worth reinforcing: the salty taste and squirmy texture lend themselves to being nigh on impossible to pair with most wines. So, what then would be the best accompanying beverage? Why, stout of course! In fact, there are several stouts out there that feature oysters added to the brew (Sixpoint having provided the only specimen that I have sampled to date). Guinness is an absolutely perfect pairing to be had with briny oysters, due in part to its subdued hop profile. The burnt malt flavours and smoothness of Guinness do well in offsetting the highly saline flavour of the oyster, with the toasty finish of the former setting you up for the next delicious morsel.
It is bears noting that overly bitter, hoppy craft stouts do not pair quite so well, however smooth oatmeal stouts such as those brewed by Nail Brewing Co. (of West Australia) and Rogue Brewing are far better suited to this rather tall task. Moreover, resist the urge to add Tabasco sauce if you are pairing with Guinness, for this condiment is not overly suited to the matching.
Suffice it to say, I am thoroughly looking forward to future visits to the market as well as the Drop Bear Inn as the weather warms up, hungover or not. You, too, would be mad to overlook a visit on a warm, market day afternoon.
South Melbourne Market
322-326 Coventry St
South Melbourne Vic 3205
Drop Bear Inn
115 Cecil St (opposite the markets)
South Melbourne Vic 3205
Click here for directions to the market