Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Drums Hotel, Coburg
1613 Sydney Road, Coburg
When? May 17, 2019.
In many respects, this is the pub that if you lived in ‘burbs (Not that Coburg is now), would become a regular very quickly.
Drums Hotel lives just beyond the corner of Sydney/Bell and has a comfortable compactness that exudes a happy vibe. For sure it remains in its traditional working class origins, but the offer is fair in both food and drink, the comfort levels are fine and put together equals a good time out.
Pokies (yes)/TAB (yes) but neither intrudes. Indeed it is easy to draw the conclusion that the management is putting back into the pub the profits by keeping prices as low as possible and keep staff levels high.
Front bar, with wooden venetians, big stools and tables has the horses and punters; through to a nice dining room with a mix of very comfy leather chairs to sit at. Secreted in the far corner is the Pokies with a drive through for a take home if needed out the back. Brick, modern, functional.
Nothing too far from the beaten track as far as food and drink goes, but there are some genuine bargains.
One of the best pubs in Melbourne over length of decades is the Emerald in South Melbourne. Different offer for sure, but Drums captures that Emerald feel (and to a point look) and reaffirms why your local hotel has never been more important.
In 2019, if you see a Chicken Parma, full whack, under $20, all/every day then that is a tick to the pub. Roast of the day is $15, all the trimmings, Mega (180g) Burger is $17.20. This is comfort, pub grub 101 here, without the price tag.
- Salt and Pepper Calamari, light dusting in seasoned flour, C&S. $13.70. The trick is with this dish to get it to the table as soon as it leaves the pass. They did, plenty of it, no problems.
- 300g Rib Eye, Chips, salad, sauce. $30.70. Nice piece of this popular cut, good sides, again good eating.
- Pie of the Day. Beef and Red Wine. $24. Special on board and recommended. Done properly cased in, flavours good.
While there are some small points of difference, this is a CUB pub. Excellent draught from rather groovy taps with cylinders atop. Plenty of choice on Tap, and the pub cares about how it is served. Taste fine, Glassware well looked after. And a pot remains under the $5 mark (average around 5.5). Bottles of Stone and Wood Pacific – $7.9//4 Pines Pale $7.7. On premise, that is fair.
Steady as she goes for the wine too, but with familiar brands available around the 7.5/gl//30/btle mark – which is unders – then the sensible pub pricing continues on after the food with its drinks. Criminal Minds Riesling is 7.9/28 btle. All good.
For sure it was busy, but even in a quieter time, I imagine they don’t go short on staff here. And that hard to achieve, elusive connectivity, between staff and patron was clear to see. All seemed to know each other and get along. Experienced staff delivering what it should be like to go to a pub.
7/10. All good/. Clatterbang of machines/horses/MOR soundtrack. Pretty standard for a sunny winter’s afternoon.
We have all been to pubs that proclaim they have the ‘famous’ (insert burger/parma etc.) But credit to Drums. They have – and in a pub setting the only – ‘famous Vanilla Slice’.
Prehistoric in size, the dare is to challenge yourself and knock it over solo. Under no circumstances – it would feed a family of 4. It was OK.
The website proclaims proudly serving Coburg since 1875, and if pleasant, comfortable, inviting are things to look for in your pub, then step in here.
As suburban pubs go – in spite of an inexorable push of cool up Sydney rd, (they don’t get past Reynard St yet), this is an excellent example of the sum of hospitality parts equalling the whole.
In closing, there’s an old tale that there was a tunnel from Pentridge to the front bar taht was used as an escape route. Have a look at the cellar from the bar – about 20 foot drop – and look across the road.
Hmm. The publican and locals aren’t about to debunk that one!.