The Weight may be one of The Band’s best known songs but, as far as song names go, it’s one of the least recognisable. The classic late 60s song you’ve almost certainly sung along to is likely one you know best by either the ambiguous chorus of “Take a load off Fanny” or, alternatively, “Take a load off Annie”.
In a song filled with a cast of unusual characters – all with oft-misheard names – you'll also find Miss Moses. So, if you want to open a bar that fills comfortably with regulars, locals and – occasionally – the slightly left of centre, Miss Moses seems like as good a name as any to go with.
Many Melbourne craft beer fans will have first become acquainted with the Sydney Road venue late in 2016, when it became the home of gypsy operation BrewCult. Though that bar has since stopped operating, it didn’t take long for new owners to come in and ensure a commitment to quality beer was maintained.
Opening its doors late in 2017, the choice of name also sets the tone for the kind of music that drifts through the bar each day and night as the staff spin their favourite American blues, folk and early rock ‘n’ roll records.
The owners – and blues fans – are James Knox and family, locals who wanted to create the sort of neighbourhood bar that would appeal to others who also call that pocket of Brunswick home. James is no stranger to running bars or working with good beer, having previously managed the Belgian Beer Café, worked for BrewDog in the UK and then spent time working as a sales rep for Experienceit Beverages when he returned home to Melbourne.
After taking over the space, the team stripped back its interior to let the exposed dark brick walls and vintage furniture create a feel somewhere between the sort of place an up-and-coming American rockabilly outfit would have once graced the stage and that of a quintessentially Australian local. It's a feeling enhanced by the beer garden to the rear where, on sunny days, large picnic tables fill with groups – often with dogs in tow – that linger late into the evening.
Inside, you can choose from ten taps that regularly rotate through beers from both near and far and, while local breweries take up most space, bigger name favourites from New Zealand, America and the UK crop up frequently too.
That selection is augmented in style by the bar’s tinnie fridge, in which you'll find between 30 to 40 beers. It’s an ever-changing list designed to offer something new for the bar’s regulars dropping in for the 4pm to 6pm happy hour. Now established as one of Sydney Road's top places for good beer, regular tap takeovers and beer launches have become a regular fixture too.
That devotion to quality local booze translates to the Miss Moses wine list where Australia’s younger generation of winemakers takes centre stage, while the spirits along the backbar are also found in the bar's classic cocktail list.
The menu is centred around good sandwiches, from the towering American mainstay that is The Reuben through to plenty of vegetarian options and weekly sandwich specials. It's bolstered by by comfort foods designed for sharing: ribs, mac and cheese, jalapeno poppers and potato cakes.
Towards the end of 2018, live music also became a fixture at the bar, with bands performing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unsurprisingly, given the bands that inspired the Miss Moses name, you can expect to find blues, rock ‘n’ roll and alternative country when walking through the doors as you prepare to take a load off with beer in hand.