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Pub of the Week 2013

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And the winner is...

Royal, Clifton Hill.  Secreted away in Spensley St., Clifton Hill, this is a Melbourne treasure. This is my last word for 2013 as Victoria’s best pub is now announced.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel in Warrandyte. Moving from a club licence to pub and private ownership, the Grand in Warrandyte was a nice visit for this week’s pub review.

Irish Times

Irish Times. What a lovely, small pub to have in the middle of the CBD. The Irish Times has been a fixture on the landscape for many years in town and its success is really based on doing the basics very well.

Heritage Tavern

Heritage Tavern. The Heritage Tavern is definitely a throwback to the age of the “bona fide” traveller. More sprawling homestead than your typical pub, the public bar and restaurant is very much “guest house”; outside with its massive shaded decking for functions and events and drop dead gorgeous gardens.

Grandview Hotel

Grandview Still very much in its infancy under new ownership, the triple storey, heritage listed Grandview in Brunswick is testament to the idiom of one mans trash is another’s treasure.

Yarra Hotel

Yarra Hotel What a fantastic pub. The double storey Yarra Hotel, a two toned old Victorian in Johnston St, east of Hoddle, has been brought to life with a simple, yet effective business that has stood the test of time when it come to pubs: Good old fashion hospitality.

Harbour Town Hotel

Harbour town Part of the redevelopment of the still-waiting-to-be-discovered Harbourtown, the eponymous hotel does a safe and steady line of food and beverage at the base of the when-will-it-finally-start Southern Star wheel.

Bridge Hotel

Bridge Hotel Either side is a great mish mash of small individual bars, dining rooms or function areas to have a quiet or loud one, set over two floors. It feels gloriously claustrophobic, generating an air that if it is quiet now, something may happen soon.

Clyde Hotel

Clyde Solid, traditional pub in the shadows of the Melbourne University (on the eastern side), the Clyde has long been a haunt for thirsty academics, students and members of various coloured university sporting teams. (Blues/Blacks).

Tooborac Hotel

Tooborac Historic bluestone pub, situated 75 minutes from Melbourne, the Tooborac can truly be considered an “all things to all people” housing a craft brewery and accommodation as well as its day to day trade as a working pub.

The Fox Hotel

Fox Hotel Gorgeous, typical inner north old time boozer, the Fox Hotel in Collingwood continues the tradition of pubs of its type managing to captivate a 60s pub charm by providing a straightforward, comfortable level of hospitality with a modern take.

Hotel Kew

Hotel Kew Situated on one of Melbournes more famous junctions, the Hotel Kew does a very neat line of good, honest pub hospitality with food and drink to match (prices also) and caters to a cross section of community who like a traditional offer...

Mount Macedon Hotel

Mount Macedon Drop dead gorgeous brick pub, resuscitated after 7 years set in the beautiful ranges, the Mount Macedon Hotel (MMH) is a wonderful pub doing terrific food and drink.

Kelly's Motor Club Hotel

Kellys Set on the main drag of Cranbourne, Kellys Motor Club has been a fixture in this outer S-E suburb of Melbourne for 90 years.

Pub of the month - 2nd quarter

pub of the week It’s time to hand out the second batch of “gongs’ for the best pub visited in the stretch from May until August 2013.

Beveridge Tavern

Beveridge Historic bluestone pub, situated in the township of the Kelly’s (Red and a young Ned), the Beveridge is a nice throwback to the “country” pub that finds itself trapped in a rural/outer suburban setting some 50kms from Melbourne.

Epping Plaza Hotel

Epping Plaza Even though it has been operating for some years there is a newness to the pub and on a Thursday lunchtime, was full of workers of both coloured collars, pensioners and those just whiling away a bit of time.

Southern Cross Hotel

Southern Cross This is a strange review as at time of writing the pub has closed (end august 2013) and is currently available for lease. However, for sake of completeness, a snapshot of this really cosy, neat, old world pub is in order.

Glenferrie Hotel

Glenferrie The pub has rid itself of pokies/TAB so it is up to the staff to win you: they do. Polished floorboards, tables replete with cloth napery if dining, the menu makes for a good pub read.

Duke of Wellington Hotel

Duke of Wellington Completely wonderful renovation of this landmark CBD hotel, the Duke has undergone the most magnificent transformation since operated by the much loved footballer/publican Brian Roberts until the mid noughties.

Royal Mail Hotel

The Royal Mail The handover to new owners has been seamless and I think after a 4 year absence, the pub is at its best. (Sadly the roadkill is gone but they have a fantastic substitute).

The Cove Hotel

The Cove Hotel in Pattersons Lakes Set on the marina of Pattersons Lakes, the Cove is a large, sprawling pub in the South East that has grown with the area and once seemingly out of place in this urban, sort-of-near-the-bay-but-not-really-development, sits very nicely with its surrounds now.

Robert Burns Hotel

Squid Food, drink, wait staff, are all/mostly Spanish influenced and if recollections are correct, the RBH has traded successfully this way for at least 25 years.

Ballcourt Hotel

ballcourt Theres a burgeoning population out West who would love to go a pub and enjoy every aspect of it - food, drink, hospitality, community. I believe this pub has the potential to deliver this.

Plough Hotel

Plough Hotel The Plough has always had a chequered career in Footscray. At its height of popularity, the Plough did a roaring trade and established motel style accommodation upstairs which was constantly in demand for visitors to Melbourne.

Bells Hotel

Bells I felt on my first visit in years that I had returned to this much loved pub with an offer that didn’t stray too much from the original, best summarised as a good place to meet, have a beer, or grab a quiet corner if that what you want.

Pubs of the Month

Hotel Sorrento TONY LEONARD: Time to have a look at the period from start of February until end of April and announce the first set of Pubs of Month, as we go towards another DeBortoli Pub of the Year.

Racecourse Hotel

Racecourse Hotel in Caulfield RACECOURSE HOTEL: This long standing old pub, close to the Caulfield Racetrack and a Monash Uni campus, is a curious beast given its physical location in a triangle of Dandenong, Burke and Waverley rds, and to me, marks the last of the “small pubs” before we move to barn territory going South/South East into the ‘burbs.

Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel, Clifton Hill. ROYAL HOTEL: Let’s cut to the chase: The Royal Hotel is one of the best kept secrets in Melbourne pub life.

Royal Melbourne Hotel

Royal Melbourne Hotel Royal Melbourne Hotel: Formerly operating as City West for the Victoria Police, the Royal Melbourne Hotel is a massive, cavernous brick and bluestone establishment, resembling more church than hotel, that has operated as pub and nightclub for over two decades.

Eureka Hotel

Eureka Hotel. EUREKA: Returning to its original life as a Richmond pub, the Eureka has recently reopened under the guidance of Pat Reardon Jnr., son of one of Melbourne’s best operators when it comes to good old fashioned pubs without the bells and whistles.

The Morning Star Hotel

Morning Star Hotel. (Photo: Rebecca Hallas) TONY LEONARD: The Morning Star came to prominence in the early 2000s when a pair of Greek brothers ramped up the menu highlighting their heritage.

Edinburgh Castle Hotel

Caslte ECH is a sprawling, rambling, deceptively large boozer; sort of sunday morning hangover rather than ramshackle. The look isn’t for everyone, but I like it.

Pine Grove Hotel

Pine Grove Hotel This version of the Pine Grove was re-built after the devastating fires of 1983, operating for nearly 100 years before that. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is very much against the run of play that you may expect to see in this burgeoning part of suburban Melbourne.

O'Connell's Hotel

O'Connell's As foreshadowed in last week's review (Rose Hotel, 5/4) this is a revisit in under 3 years to a pub which I hold as one the most consistently high achievers I have found in talking about pubs in Melbourne for nearly 20 years.

Rose Hotel

Rose Hotel The Food and drink is still fairly priced, the menu expanded but not to such an extent to move away from top price fully plated main at $24 and wine too doesn’t have a massive mark-up.

Prahran Hotel

Prahran Hotel After a long absence, I revisited the Prahran Hotel and much to my astonishment, all that I enjoyed about this pub previously was intact and if possible, even more lovingly treasured by the current custodians.

Hotel Sorrento

Hotel Sorrento The Sorrento is a majestic multi story limestone pub on the Mornington Peninsula, which in spite of its old world looks, operates as a straight up and down pub that has a number of tricks to it that all work.

Lord Newry Hotel

newry First time visit to the Newry and in keeping with so many of its type in Fitzroy/Nth Fitzroy, the pub steadfastly maintains a course of the traditional that welcomes locals and encourages community.

Albion Hotel

Parma Part of the wonderful Port Melbourne pub scene, the Albion (former Pub of the year winner) maintains a steady course that makes it one of the acme pubs of Melbourne in my opinion.

Park Hotel

Park Hotel Built after a total re-gutting of the old (Tudor Inn), the Park Hotel has bravely taken a path to be genuinely different to not only all of the pubs/clubs of outer suburban Werribee, but the majority of those in the western suburbs

McKinnon Hotel

McKinnon The exterior is grey/black with a terracotta roof: the color scheme looks good. The front bar is oblong, and invites you to not only sit and have one, but can carry on a conversation with those sitting opposite.

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Trentham What a brilliant way to start the new year with a wonderful, old fashioned pub in the township of Trentham, some 75 minutes north of Melbourne through Woodend.

De Bortoli Wines

De-Bortoli-Wines The De Bortoli family is committed to making distinctive wines from their Yarra Valley and King Valley vineyards in Victoria and from their vineyards in New South Wales; wines with true varietal and regional expression - wines with a sense of place. For over 80 years the De Bortoli tradition of sharing good wine, good food and good times with family and friends remains unchanged