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Pub Of The Week: Railway Hotel, Fitzroy North

Tony Moclair
Article image for Pub Of The Week: Railway Hotel, Fitzroy North

800 Nicholson St, Fitzroy North

Ph: 8671 0222

Railway Hotel

When?: 29 March 2024


The Railway in Nicholson St., (next door to a tram depot, yep), is a genuinely unique hotel with an honest, working class offer in a suburb that has become as desirable as any in Melbourne.

A rare beast given its mid-street, not-on-a-corner location, this a large, bordering on cavernous old boozer, with a big dining room, to the side a large pool table in a space rarely used, to a leafy, neat, beer garden.

It was run in excess of 20 years by the Negrelli family, and provided a meeting place for many Italian migrants that would bring produce from their gardens to wife Miriam to use in the kitchen, or to play Scopa, a card game where the object is to bang the table as hard as possible to indicate a win.

Around 12-18 months ago, it was time to hand over the reins to the Corner Group, well established publicans whose credits include The National in Richmond, Northcote Social, and the Corner in Richmond.

Save for an unobtrusive spruce up, the Railway is pretty much as was, the menu still beating a strong Italian heart. The pub is doing a kitchen renovation, so the menu was reduced and times stretched as warned. Good on them for the heads up.

Pokies: No.
TAB: No.

However, a recent visit the Railway wasn’t at its best. Indeed ordering something became a quasi game of ‘Cheese Shop’, the iconic Monty Python sketch where John Cleese attempts to buy some cheese, rattles off say 15 varieties only to be told by Michael Palin, that they have none.

So, using the pubs Facebook for specials. Roasted Barramundi? We’ve sold out, Tortellini Brodo? Nah it’s gone. And before you ask, the calamari isn’t available. What about the pork and veal meatballs? Sorry.

The reduced menu still had some interesting selections. Tried was;

  • Lasagne, pork meatballs – $25. Big slab, tasty, but as can happen, the top layer had been reheated more than once, which made the top very tough. The rest was fine, maybe some foil to retain some moisture,


  •  Flinders Island sirloin, 250g. German coleslaw, chips, pepper sauce, $36. Well executed, tasty. A fine Tiramisu, $12, big, boozy, creamy was the standout, no doubt representative of a galley that can produce. Carlton Draught was well served and fair in price ($6.50), the Wine per glass $12-13, was genuinely different e.g., Airlie Bank Pinot Noir, Corner Block Nebbiolo.

To finish, and this is a criticism of many/any pubs, but on a very quiet, early Sunday afternoon, the background music was way too loud, and for the footy fans that had come to watch the Dogs bowl over the Suns, they did it to sounds that were more appealing at 1am, not 1pm.

A request to all hospitality staff everywhere: Please adapt to the time of day, not something you like to pass the hours.

The Railway is a great pub when on song. This wasn’t their day.

Score: 12

Tony Moclair