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Pub of the week: The Commercial Club Hotel

tony leonard
Article image for Pub of the week: The Commercial Club Hotel

Commercial Club Hotel
344 Nicholson St., Fitzroy
9419 1522
Score: 15/20
2 February 2018

2nd Review. (last circa 2010)

If it is possible to be (relatively) anonymous in a street such as Nicholson, Fitzroy, then this acme pub of Melbourne, the Commercial Club, is that.

From the outside, it has a plain white facade, with no neon indicators of beer brands protruding from the walls. Its location from a pub POV, does not drip cool in a manner that exudes from nearby Gertrude, Brunswick, or Smith. This is Nicholson St; gateway to the Eastern Freeway, and hostage to a stack of traffic.

But once inside, the bar/dining room/nooks/crannies (converted horse stalls) and beer garden come to life. Front bar is dominated by a large concrete slab to rest the glorious nectar. To a side room there is a pool table. Then some more dining room that has no particular theme or format. Extensive seating in the garden all with the charm that hands’ on owners provide.

No TAB/No pokies. Food, drink, hospitality seems to come easily and a deserved loyal and local following keeps pubs like this alive.

The Commercial Club is a ripper.

There is a crazy fairness to the pricing here and no cutting corners either. Ripper range of snacks, ($5-7), with their signature dish “Mum’s Sausage Rolls”, very tasty bite sized beauties for $6, or Fat Tony’s chips. Pizza for $11, (6 good slices), burger $14, snags/mash $17. This is pub eating as it should be. The menu is not overloaded for choice and it is a pub path well worn.

Entrees/Snacks $8, mains $18, desserts not really.


Mum’s sausage rolls. $6/6. Good. Tasty beer food at its best. Well done Mum and Son.

Fish and chips, w/tartare. $16. Good. Two hot and white fillets of flathead tails, hot chips, sauce fine, this is popular, simple pub food delivered at its best at a very fair price.

Cape Grim sirloin, salad, chips, pepper sauce. $26. Very good. What a bargain. Right sized steak well seasoned and cooked, (about 250g); fresh, tasty well dressed salad, good chips and a neat, biting, pepper sauce brings it home. You will easily pay $10 plus for the identical plate. Why?

Carlton draught, 7oz/200ml glass at 3.20/ea. Served as it should be. Cold, refreshing, glorious. Two Birds, Four Pines, and other assorted craft and cider available on tap. This is extended further in bottles/cans. Like the food pricing, a sensible approach to wine is adopted with $8pg/$36 bottle being about the average. West Cape Howe (WA) Riesling $7pg/$32b is very, very good buying.

The CC is owner/operator so they have to win you from the get go. They do. In spades. You like community and comfort in a pub. Then here it is.

In any professional pursuits, the best make things look easy, where to mere mortals it isn’t.

To me running a pub has to be more than a welcoming smile and conversation, topped off with a good offer of food and drink: otherwise we’re all doing it.

At the Commercial Club once you walk in you want be there. Left side of the brain. There are no bells and whistles. The CC is a wonderful local, corner pub the type of which that seemingly disappear on a weekly basis. (No doubt Edward G R sees a corner pub in his life’s flashbacks if Soylent Green is remade).

They get it here. Go along, set aside a couple of hours. You’ll enjoy.

tony leonard