To those with an observant eye on history, July 4 is Independence Day – America's national holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. To everyone else, it's a chance to acknowledge the day's significance and a good excuse to celebrate everything we love about the good ol' US of A. That means stuffing our faces with deep fried food and milkshakes while shaking our collective booty to everything from honkytonk to classic hip-hop. With a plethora of American-themed diners, cafes and bars across Melbourne, there are plenty of opportunities to raise a bottle of Budweiser to the sky and praise that star spangled banner with like-minded folk. Here's our pick of where to spend the 4th of July in Melbourne.
MISS KATIE'S CRAB SHACK | NORTH MELBOURNE
North Melbourne's Public Bar is home to one of Melbourne's best bona fide American eateries – Miss Katie's Crab Shack. The menu is full of authentic treats like seasonal jambalaya, crispy fried prawns and signature dish, Katie's Fried Chicken – to which hungry punters can add standard French fries or a waffle with Canadian maple syrup. Vegetarians aren't forgotten either – just wait 'til you sink your teeth into the sweet corn and sweet potato burger. The Crab Shack will be open for lunch and dinner on the 4th of July, with specials on American beers to tempt you – including Brooklyn Lager and Anchor at $6 a pop.
THE B.EAST | BRUNSWICK EAST
An American-themed party ain't a real American party unless there's music involved. Good thing for us, then, that Brunswick East's B.East is getting into the 4th of July spirit with live sets by an American ragtime banjo performer and a Chicago-style blues band. As for the food, think one word: burgers. The B.East specialises in them, from the classic through to the appropriately named Sexy (double beef, double cheddar, lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion, BBQ sauce). There's a special chilli dog, S'mores ice cream sundae and 'Texas freedom fries' available on the day. Yum.
BELGIAN BEER CAFE | SOUTHBANK
Five beers. Five burgers. That's the basic equation at the Southbank branch of Belgian Beer Cafe, which will host an afternoon of greasy fun called Burgerpalooza on Saturday afternoon (3-5pm). The $65 ticket includes five of America's finest craft beers matched with five burgers showcasing everything from seafood to dessert. The event is put on by Murray's Beer Academy who stage similarly boozy events around town. A word of warning: you might want to skip breakfast to try to defy the inevitable food coma.
T.G.I FRIDAY'S | VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Good old T.G.I Friday's is a one stop shop for all your American celebrations from the Superbowl to Halloween – and the 4th of July is no exception. Drop into any branch (there are eight restaurants across Melbourne, including Southbank and Melbourne Central) on Friday to partake in the special Wings of Fury menu. Choose from The Scorcher (with extra spicy sauce) or The Fiery Buffalo (dusted in Cajun seasoned flour) and grab a $25 Coors beer bucket while you're at it. God bless America.
EUREKA 89 | SOUTHBANK
Looking to show off Melbourne this 4th of July? On the top floor of Southbank's Eureka Tower, Eureka 89 could be just the ticket. The bar, with its spectacular views of the city skyline, will open its doors from 5:30pm for a pop-up 4th of July party. A $25 ticket will land you a US-inspired cocktail or a Laurent Perrier Champagne. There'll be live entertainment and a selection of US-themed grazing dishes including smoked beef sliders and spiced pork ribs with apple radish salad. All with the best views money can buy. Tickets can be pre-purchased or available at the door.
MISTY'S DINER | PRAHRAN
American food in Melbourne begins and ends with Misty's Diner. For more than a decade, Misty has served our fair city authentic US food - deep -fried, dipped in blue cheese sauce and covered in chocolate. Misty's original Prahran branch (there's also a Reservoir restaurant) will host an all-you-can-eat 4th of July buffet from 6pm, featuring everything from buffalo wings and corn dogs to mac and cheese, baked beans, hot dogs and desserts like pumpkin pie and Oreo cream pie. US beers on offer include Colt 45, Blue Moon, Bud Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Bookings are essential and trust us, you don't want to miss out.
ROCKWELL & SONS | COLLINGWOOD
Collingwood hipster haunt Rockwell and Sons offers a firm nod to the US with its menu of comfort dishes including fried chicken (by the plate or in a sandwich), signature double-patty burgers and a pressed rib sandwich, which takes a whopping 20 hours to create. Swing by on the 4th of July to partake in a one-off menu with vegetarian options, a variety of North American beers (there's homemade lemonade on the menu for designated drivers) and DJs pumping out tunes on turntables all night.
LE BON TON | COLLINGWOOD
Smokehouse, oyster bar, salon or absinthe bar – Le Bon Ton is whatever you want it to be. Collingwood's former Glasshouse Hotel reopened as the New Orleans-inspired venue – complete with 24-hour license – earlier this year. Its first Independence Day will be celebrated in style on Sunday with an all-day event (2-10pm). There's an all you can eat Southern-style buffet, a selection of smoked meats and American beers. But that's not all – a collection of hot rods out the front will be sure to attract plenty of attention, and live acts Shirazz and The Horns of Leroy will keep the dancefloor filled. Tickets are $75.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Still searching for the perfect venue to celebrate this 4th of July in Melbourne? Might we suggest these yankee-doodle-dandies…
Now a year old, Po' Boy Quarter is your one stop shop for the authentic New Orleans-style po boy – a submarine sandwich typically filled with deep fried shrimp, catfish, beef or pork.
Ever bought a slice of pizza almost as big as your head in New York? Relive the experience at Shawcross Pizza, where you can purchase by the slice or entire 12-inch pizzas.
If you're planning to celebrate Independence Day at home, make sure you swing by USA Foods to stock up on imported chocolates, soft drinks, cereals and grocery goods.
Crown Casino's addition to Melbourne's American dining scene is The Merrywell. The expansive gastro-pub specialises in burgers and, for the adventurous, a 1.2kg 'caveman' steak.
Bagels, pretzels, pecan pie and ice cream sandwiches are all the rage at this city gem, which pays homage to the New York subway while pumping out superb coffee all day.
Tim Tam milkshake? Sticky BBQ wings? New York-inspired Trunk Diner has you covered. Check out the 'Breaking Bad dog' – a bacon-wrapped hot dog with all the trimmings. U-S-A! U-S-A!
Footscray's only dedicated burger joint impresses with its bright décor inspired by all your favourite childhood video games, and its menu of burgers, fries, shakes and tator tots.