Pub: Limerick Castle
Where: 161 Errol St., North Melbourne
Phone: 9326 8979
Date: 26 November 2010
The pub year is coming to an end and with my last two reviews, it’s time to go back to the very essence of hospitality and that is the local corner pub.
Without going all Sir David Attenborough and Chinese Panda on you, your local pub is an endangered species; slowly, steadily and inexorably falling off the face and being turned into soulless, anonymous, inner urban units.
There are a few that I hope will stand the test of time, without the need for the WWF to lend its popular mascot koala in support rattling a can out the front of them.
One is the Limerick Castle and in essence, the last of its type in North Melbourne.
The same faces breast the bar daily; the same conversations are invariably repeated. But it is a safe haven for all those heading in there, with wonderful, clean tasting draught on tap, a small Tab, small, neat, dining area and quaint beer garden all jammed into this Lilliputian boozer.
The new Guv’nor is Hayley Geimza, and continues the long line of women publicans in our town. Her upbringing is all pubs, through her popular dad Peter, whose uncanny knack of transforming downtrodden pubs and turning them into successful businesses is envied.
One of the last traditional barmen of Melbourne “Stan” has returned behind the jump., so another tick there.
Already the subtle changes are evidenced: new bar stools, lick of paint, slight re-arrangement of the fitout and without too much fuss, it is re-energised.
Food remains standard pub grub at standard prices, with one or two nice tricks. It is not production line nosh that fills the menus of most pubs outside an 8km radius of the city.
Rissoles and mash will set you back $12. Just like Paul Keating, they will repeat on you angrily and often. Two big bangers and mash costs $12., while the roast of the day, fully plated, is $2 more.
- Moroccan lamb chops (3), cous cous, spinach, onion, kipfler potato salad @!9.50. Nice spicing to the lamb, good mound of vegetables, very tasty and popular judging on the plates leaving the kitchen
- Chicken parma, chips and salad @ $15. I know, I know, I don’t order them, but sometimes you see one come out to someone’s table and you think….’yeah, that’s for me today’. Wasn’t let down either
- D’Arenberg “Stump Jump” Riesling. Pleasant drop, $25/bottle which was fair buying and reflected the sensible attitude the pub takes with its wine (although I suspect that it is beer most of the time).
The pub will provide a meal, on Saturdays, from midday to 9 and simply put, it is easy to settle in, watch the cricket or the sports, and soon enough a few hours have pleasantly passed.
There are no bells and whistles so don’t expect the little brother of the Court House which is around 500 metres up the Errol St., hill.
There’s not much more to the Limerick Castle other than it’s a good old fashioned pub, still chugging along quietly.
Like a few more in Melbourne, such as the Commercial Club in Fitzroy, may it long avoid the executioners noose. It is part of the North Melbourne fabric, with too many other ‘locals’ long gone.
For all of the plaudits that the high end food pubs deservedly receive, the balance must be preserved with the traditional offering. The Limerick keeps its end of the deal up.