Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Charles Weston Hotel, Brunswick
Charles Weston Hotel
27 Weston Street, Brunswick.
When? August 2, 2019.
The Charles Weston Hotel (CWH) has run by a few aliases in its time – Sporting Club, Fox Hat – but always seemed to get what its customers want, by not overstretching and just delivering good hospitality suited to the times.
Indeed it was more of Groundhog Day, rather than Back to the Future on a recent visit as little, if anything has changed.
The front bar, all wood/traditional with one pool table in the corner, low lit, fireplaces are as I remember back in the late 80s, through to the longish rectangular bistro, red sturdy carpet, kitchen partly exposed to the dog friendly courtyard.
And it has one of the more discreet snugs set aside in a corner, to relax on old comfy couches with candlelight providing the feel. Not recommended, but falling asleep there would take little encouragement.
No pokies/No TAB, just come in and socialise.
Food and drink appeal, hospitality on tap, it is a no brainer that the CWH is a straight up and down, inner suburban good ol’ boozer, not needing ANY bells and whistles to sell its charm.
Modern pub grub, befitting the area, is provided, all priced around the mark you’d expect to pay. Portobello Mushroom, Green peas and baby spinach arancini (12) from the starters, Slow braised grass fed brisket and mushroom pie, garlic chive mash, from the main demonstrates a bit of dash.
Exceptional weekly specials – Pie/Burger/Parma – $12, Roo and Wine – $14.9 – are crazy fair on their given night.
- Crispy szechuan calamari w mixed greens, chilli & coriander lime mayo. $15. Arrived hot which is a must, decent sized pile, as it should be served,
- Peppered Roo fillet, W/ root vegetable mash, seasonal greens, native bush spices & beetroot relish, red wine jus. $30. Not seen in enough menus, perfectly med-rare, great veg, and was exceptionally popular on a night that you paid full whack,
- Porterhouse steak, 300g, duck fat spuds, caramelised baby onion, seasonal veg, $32. Good meat seasoned well, loved the onions, (don’t get the fawning adulation for DFS), but overall no problems.
Rotating taps of popular craft beers dominate the bar. Mountain Goat Steam, Coburg Lager and a fine pot of Hargreaves Hill Pale (6.5) is a sample of the choice.
Interesting wine list a little removed from the stock standard. Maybe 10 or so Reds and Whites, most of which are available by the glass, priced around the mark for wine in a pub. Richard Hamilton Riesling, Heartland Cab/Sav, both $11pg tried and enjoyed.
Busy night. Order at the bar, meals brought to the table, order drinks at the bar. No problems.
7/10. Aussie Indie. Right levels on a busy night cut through, but did not disturb the din.
Yes. Strange when you see 4 tables for 4, pushed together as from end to the other you can lose contact in a noisy pub. Then an order of beer/wine, special of the night for food is taken, and the knitting needles come out and look at them go!. It is true that women have men totally covered when multitasking. Sip, bite, chat, knit one, all completed by the Brunswick Owls not missing a beat.
Funny how some pubs move with the times, a reflection of food/beer trends, but also its demographics as the desirability of living close to town grows exponentially.
This is where the CWH is somewhat of an oddity. In its lifespan, (my first visit 35 years ago) , Brunswick didn’t have pub cache, and this pub was just another off the beaten track of Sydney Road.
But it worked then – and now – and it seems the less they do to the interior, the more appealing as a place to congregate and socialise it becomes. And let’s face it, how many pubs can boast a knitting group as part of the charm.
The Charles Weston is a beauty, a local that anyone would love to call their local.