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Pub of the Week 2011


Tony's Pub of the Year

Tony Leonard 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.

Back for a 16th year!

tony leonard Its time again to find the best pub in Victoria in 2011 as I will present the Pub of the week segment for the 16th year with Neil, each Friday, around 1140am.

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

Pub of the Month - 3rd Quarter

Pub Of The Week with Tony Leonard: 3AW.com.au 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.

Review: Beaumaris Hotel

Beaumaris Hotel 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.

Review: Bush Inn Hotel

Bush Inn Hotel 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

Review: The Bottom End

Bottom end 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.

Review: Post Office Hotel

Post Office Hotel The smart, understated refurbishment of the long time dormant Post Office Hotel in 2010 has seen it re-open and it is a beauty. Serving sharp, clever food it has won a legion of new fans.

Review: Clarendon Hotel

Clarendon Hotel 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...

Review: Bridge Hotel

Bridge 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.

Review: Malvern Hotel

Malvern Hotel 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.

Review: Kinglake Pub

Kinglake Pub 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.

Review: Platform 28

Platform 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.

Review: Brandon Hotel

Brandon 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.

Review: Knox Tavern

Knox Tavern 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.

Pub of the Month - 2nd Quarter

Tony Leonard 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.

Review: Prince Alfred Hotel

Alfred 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.

Review: Albert Park Hotel

Albert Park Hotel 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.

Review: Berwick Inn Hotel

Berwick Pleasant outer suburban pub, set in the main street of “old” Berwick, you would expect the Berwick Inn was fairly typical of the TAB/Pokie large venue dotting the outer rings of suburban Melbourne.

Review: Railway Hotel

Railway Hotel 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.

Review: Little River Hotel

Little river hotel The beer was excellent which it must be here. Make no mistake, any after taste// bad glasses is the death knell for a country pub. I repeat, the beer is excellent.

Review: Pier Hotel

Pier Hotel 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.

Review: O'Connell's Centenary Hotel

O’Connell’s Centenary Hotel No Tab/Pokies (heaven forbid), O’Connells is not the trailblazer of 20 years past: it has however confirmed its status as one of Melbourne’s consistently best over the journey.

Review: Half Moon Hotel

Half-moon Back on track and winning back the disaffected. Whatever pre-conceived notions you may have, Brighton has some good traditional pubs and the Half Moon is that again.

Review: Roxburgh Park Hotel

Roxburgh hotel 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...

Review: Hotel Lincoln

Lincoln 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.

Review: Arcadia Hotel

Arcadia Hotel 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.

Review: Exchange Hotel

exchange 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.

Pub of the Month- 1st quarter

Tony Leonard MONTHLY BESTS: Time for some 2011 awards and a farewell to two great stalwarts of the Melbourne Pub/Hospitality scene. Here is the good, the bad, and the flat out strange thus far in 2011.

Review: Old England Hotel

Old E 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.

Review: Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall 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.

Review: Lamaro's

lamaros 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.

Review: Blarney Stone Tavern

Blarney 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.

Review: Browns Corner Hotel

Corner Hotel All in all, there is a quiet revolution in pubs taking place in Coburg and Browns Corner Hotel is moving in the right direction to provide an affordable hospitality package.

Review: Victoria Hotel

Victoria Hotel 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.

Review: Coopers Inn

Coopers Inn 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.

Review: Dick Whittington Tavern

Dick tavern 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.

Review: Temperance Hotel

Temperance Hotel 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.

Review: Sugar Gum Hotel

Sugar Gum Hotel 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.

Review: Wharf Hotel

Wharf Hotel 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.

Review: Bay & Bridge Hotel

Bay and Bridge Hotel 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.

Review: Standard Hotel

Standard Hotel 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.

Review: Hotel Spencer

Hotel Spencer 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.

Review: Mail Exchange Hotel

mail exchange hotel 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.

Review: Redesdale Hotel

redesdale "First time visit but I see why it is popular. The pub doesn’t rush its food service but the wait is worth it. Live music on a Sunday afternoon is another attraction. Good start to the year."

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

Pub of the Year 2010

Terminus Hotel 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...