- Tony's Pub of the Year
- Back for a 16th year!
- Pub of the Month - 3rd Quarter
- Review: Beaumaris Hotel
- Review: Bush Inn Hotel
- Review: The Bottom End
- Review: Post Office Hotel
- Review: Clarendon Hotel
- Review: Bridge Hotel
- Review: Malvern Hotel
- Review: Kinglake Pub
- Review: Platform 28
- Review: Knox Tavern
- Pub of the Month - 2nd Quarter
- Review: Brandon Hotel
- Review: Prince Alfred Hotel
- Review: Albert Park Hotel
- Review: Berwick Inn Hotel
- Review: Railway Hotel
- Review: Little River Hotel
- Review: Pier Hotel
- Review: O'Connell's Centenary Hotel
- Review: Half Moon Hotel
- Review: Roxburgh Park Hotel
- Review: Hotel Lincoln
- Review: Arcadia Hotel
- Review: Exchange Hotel
- Pub of the Month- 1st quarter
- Review: Old England Hotel
- Review: Town Hall Hotel
- Review: Lamaro's
- Review: Blarney Stone Tavern
- Review: Browns Corner Hotel
- Review: Victoria Hotel
- Review: Coopers Inn
- Review: Dick Whittington Tavern
- Review: Temperance Hotel
- Review: Sugar Gum Hotel
- Review: Wharf Hotel
- Review: Bay & Bridge Hotel
- Review: Standard Hotel
- Review: Hotel Spencer
- Review: Redesdale Hotel
- Review: Mail Exchange Hotel
- De Bortoli Wines
- Pub of the Year 2010
THE WINNERS: A total of 39 pubs were reviewed, of which 26 fell between a 13-14.9, with 6 under 13 and 7 at a score of 15 or above. Mercifully, not one fell under 12, which really means it is a modern day miracle how the business is still running in my opinion.
|27-Jan||Redesdale Hotel - Kyneton||14.5|
|4-Feb||Mail Exchange Hotel - CBD||14.0|
|11-Feb||Hotel Spencer - West Melbourne||15.8|
|18-Feb||Standard Hotel - Fitzroy||13.7|
|25-Feb||Bay & Bridge Hotel - Port Melbourne||12.5|
|4-Mar||Wharf Hotel - Docklands||14.2|
|18-Mar||Sugar Gum Hotel - Sydenham||12.7|
|1-Apr||Temperance Hotel - Sth Yarra||13.5|
|8-Apr||Dick Whittington Tavern - St. Kilda||14.0|
|15-Apr||Coopers Inn - CBD||14.2|
|22-Apr||Victoria Hotel - Footscray||12.9|
|29-Apr||Browns Corner Hotel - Coburg||12.8|
|6-May||Blarney Stone Tavern - Yarraville||12.5|
|13-May||Lamaro's - South Melbourne||15.0|
|20-May||Town Hall Hotel - Fitzroy||17.0|
|27-May||Old England Hotel - Heidelberg||14.2|
|10-Jun||Exchange Hotel - Melbourne||13.8|
|17-Jun||Arcadia Hotel - South Yarra||13.5|
|24-Jun||Hotel Lincoln - Carlton||17.0|
|1-Jul||Roxburgh Park Hotel- Roxburgh Park||12.5|
|8-Jul||Half Moon Hotel - Brighton||14.6|
|15-Jul||O'Connell's Hotel - Sth. Melbourne||15.5|
|22-Jul||Pier Hotel - Port Melbourne||14.5|
|29-Jul||Little River Hotel - Little River||13.3|
|5-Aug||Railway Hotel - North Fitzroy||14.0|
|12-Aug||Berwick Inn Hotel - Berwick||13.0|
|19-Aug||Albert Park Hotel - Albert Park||16.3|
|26-Aug||Prince Alfred Hotel - Richmond||14.7|
|10-Sep||Knox Tavern - Wantirna Sth||14.0|
|17-Sep||Brandon Hotel - Carlton Nth||13.0|
|24-Sep||Platform 28 - Docklands||14.4|
|30-Sep||Kinglake Pub - Kinglake||13.5|
|6-Oct||Malvern Hotel - Malvern||16.7|
|14-Oct||Bridge Hotel - Mordialloc||14.3|
|21-Oct||Clarendon Hotel - Sth Melbourne||12.8|
|4-Nov||Post Office Hotel - Coburg||14.9|
|11-Nov||The Bottom End - Melbourne||13.5|
|18-Nov||Bush Inn Hotel - Toorak||14.7|
|25-Nov||Beaumaris Hotel Beaumaris||13.9|
TONY'S PICKS: The following 3 pubs are given the gong for the DeBortoli Pub of the Month for September, October and November. What is pleasing is that two of the three are “new boys” and look to be trading well, while having totally diverse offers.
The Beaumaris has been a long time fixture on the Beach road that has been through a couple of changes and now falls into a sort of ‘all things to all people’ with its offer best described as part café/bar, bistro and birthday/wedding function house.
The Bush Inn is really worth a try but it will test the subjectivity of what is value for money. Another pub whose progress is worth watching and if you are inclined to go on the back of this, would love your feedback
Proudly proclaiming itself as Melbourne’s first pub/diner/disco (and a hard to argue claim at that) , The Bottom End Smart is a unique and clever mix of hospitality that challenges preconceived notions of how a pub should operate.
The Clarendon has been open for 12 months in its new guise and I hope the new owners do well. At the moment, it is a work in progress and doing the basics well enough, but the question must be asked...
This is a lovely pub at the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula, with a range of rooms/areas to cater for as wide a cross section of the community as possible. Wedding? No problems, Quiet drink? Easy.
Deceptively large, a lot is crammed into this split level corner pub, and unless you park overnight, best to avoid the pub carpark and use Malvern Rd. Prices are at the slightly higher pub end, but the Malvern offers real value for money in what they provide.
Typical country pub, set in the mountains through either Eltham, Whittlesea, or Yarra Glen...The pub serves big plates of good, honest pub grub; there are no surprises. Also the wine list is kept small, local and affordable.
Completely brand new, reconverted heritage “goods” sheds in the Docklands, Platform 28 is a terrific mix of pub/café/bar/restaurant, set out over 2 levels, with indoor and outdoor spaces contained therein.
Indeed, it is a first visit since Mick Bourke ran the pub, so I was curious to see whether direction had changed and the welcoming community feel, matched with smart superior pub grub and interesting wines was there.
This pub is family is family owned and operated and pays a loving tribute to cricket (David the owner is Sri Lankan) with all manner of memorabilia on the walls. Their web site confirms the cricket/community connection with a number of local cricket clubs.
TONY'S PICKS: Its time again to hand out some awards for the best pubs during June, July August 2011. It is, in my opinion, the best set of 3 in one quarter since I commenced doing these reviews in 1996.
The pub is wonderful inside: clean, well run with an offer that is priced higher, but certainly suits the area. And on a brilliant early spring day, the pub had a 50/50 mix, essential to its survival in this precinct.
Brilliantly relaunched around 18 months ago as a pub specialising in seafood, the APH is the piscatorial step brother of the Middle Park Hotel, whose carnivorous “boys club” offer has struck a mighty popular chord in nearby Canterbury Rd.
This is a second home to locals and truly embraces my belief that a pub should be part of the community and heading north along Nicholson, it is almost anonymous, forming part of a group of shop-fronts beyond the tram depot.
Bright, modern, and with the best view of the Bay, the Pier has transformed itself from an old “Port” pub to being one of the “pretty young things” that bids for the leisure dollar in the very crowded port/south//albert/middle park precinct.
Can arguably lay claim to the biggest pub in total area in Melbourne, if not Victoria. Located in the outer northern suburbs, it is part of the expanding suburban sprawl, and as is the norm for “newer” pubs...
If you want a snapshot as to why Melbourne pubs are the envy of the nation, the Lincoln has been one of your ‘go to men.' If you want to know why our pubs will stay ahead of the pack for the next decade, then the Lincoln is your ‘go to man’ NOW.
The pub succeeds in being all things to all people of as wide a demographic imaginable. It is a traditional pub, heavily relying on sports to bring the crowd in. To that end, it reminds me of the much loved Rose Hotel in Fitzroy.
The dining room is comfortable and modern, all part of one area that is predominantly a mix of sealed concrete and timber floor. Although there are no designated dining areas, the clever use of curtains in partitioning will afford some privacy.
Massive, sprawling, elegant Tudor styled homestead dominating the landscape of Lower Heidelberg Rd since 1848, the Old England is a comfortable, straight up and down pub, serving very good beer, with an extensive menu that covers all bases.
The food bedazzles. A range of plate sizes for their brilliant Italian inspired cooking, traditional pub meals, multiple cheese and dessert options demands you read everything before ordering. It’s the same for the wine list.
It beggars belief why more pubs, slightly further out from the CBD do not try something other than join the dots pub hospitality. In a crowded marketplace that is South Melbourne, Lamaro’s holds its own against all comers.
Being the sole diners at 130 on a Thursday set off an alarm bell, but I shouldn’t have worried. The food was ok pub grub, but I wondered why more people were not in the pub, when there was (and always is) plenty of activity outside.
Never really crossing my radar growing up in Footscray, it is monstrously large with a huge public bar (complete with TAB), exposed brick walls and timber pylons dominating the middle. Beer’s cheap ($3.5/pot) and tasted fine.
Popular, straight up and down, last of the Mohican pubs in the CBD of Melbourne. Traditionally run, 3 levels, the Coopers caters for workers of both coloured collars while providing honest hospitality in modern surroundings.
The pub has been re-arranged since my last visit 6 years ago. The pokies remain, but have been shunted ‘out back’ to a discreet location and the view from Chapel St is one of a neat, bright dining room and a public bar befitting the area.
Clearly the owners want you to be the entertainment. For sure there is DJ/Live Music, 2 for 1 cocktail hours, but I could not spot a TV in the pub which is a rarity, but as far as I can gather must be a winner as the age profile is pretty large.
While not running to the monstrous layout of eastern suburban barns, it has that look of a St. Leonard’s beach house, with bits added on here and there, corrugated iron/timber being the prominent features in an outer suburban bush setting.
Absolutely brand spanking new addition to the Melbourne pub scene and it is a ripper. Built on the river bank, it is housed on the “old casino” site and looks directly across at Jeff’s shed, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
Formerly known as Chequers Inn (with its lovely old second reference of the house of twisted faces) the B&B is the latest in a long line of inner suburban pubs to have a makeover and attempt to achieve that juggling act of retaining the old while dazzling with the new.
The Standard is one of the last dinosaurs as far as inner-suburban hotels are concerned. Almost anonymous given its location, it is a shrine to a pub life long past, a wonderful, welcoming boozer serving straight up and down pub grub.
My curiosity was aroused to revisit the Spencer, only having reviewed the pub some 24 months ago. The new owners haven’t changed much so if you have been you will know the layout. Front bar has been de-cluttered so more room to enjoy a cold one.
Table service, leather chairs and cloth napkins are part of the deal in the dining room, from a tuned in and attentive staff. A private dining area is available plus the best smokers (if you like that sort thing) courtyard I have seen.
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
In 2010, a total of 41 pubs were reviewed. As explained previously, a mark from 13 – 15 is where most pubs will fall and in keeping with past scoring, (I have always maintained it is an inexact science with me!), 6 fell below that mark and 7 above. And the winner is...