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PUB OF THE WEEK: Tony Leonard’s first quarterly review

?At the end of a three-month period, DeBortoli Pubs of the Month are acknowledged (9-10 in all) and from this the best four are chosen as the finalists for DeBortoli Pub of the Year.

As a generalisation, it has been a good start with all pubs reviewed hitting the mark: some better than others.

Pub staples are still there, and the irresistible surge in croquettes/arancini continues. From a pricing POV, burgers/parmas of superior quality are fairly entrenched around the $23-25. (You will pay less/more obviously).

New boy East Brunswick Hotel has resumed trading and is going beautifully. A stack has been spent on the Braybrook Hotel and I doubt if I have encountered a pub trying harder to change perception. Good luck to them.

My only comment on pricing is that wine (glass/bottled) of a decent and reputable quality is rarely seen under $8/glass or $40 /bottle. To be fair pubs are not alone here, but clearly the working rule of 100% on full retail no longer applies and I’m not sure why.

FEBRUARY PUB OF THE MONTH

Prince Albert Hotel, Williamstown.

Second time visit after it exploded from the blocks in 2009.

Table service, napery/cutlery, the dining rooms are so neat (a little cramped in front bar) that you are at ease from the get go.

But (and more power to it), the lovely old world bar welcomes locals and strangers alike.

Genuine spoil on the menu for a fully plated meal. In top form.

MARCH PUB OF THE MONTH

Woodlands Hotel, Coburg.

Second time visit. One of the genuine champions, bordering on religious zealotry of craft beer with snappy, different food offerings.

The pub, in which a small fortune was spent, looks fabulous. Wedding parties Good times all rolled into one.

The Woodlands is one of Melbourne’s best.

APRIL PUB OF THE MONTH

Spread Eagle Hotel, Richmond.

Durable, Reliable, Comfortable, Consistent are four trademarks pubs strive to achieve.

Here’s another: Vibe. TSE is just a destination pub for a good night out – No PubTab/No Pokies – and aims all ages without bells and whistles.

Great small plates, going beautifully all in a top notch space.

Second set of gongs due end of August. Please keep in touch at tony.leonard@macquariemedia.com.au

Cheers!

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