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Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard’s third quarter review!

pub of the week
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DeBortoli Finalists for Pub of the Year 2019

Review date: December 6, 2019


Time to finalise the last pubs of the month for 2019 – 1 October to 30 November and then trim it down to 4 for the pub of the year honours.  This will be the 24th Pub of the year that Neil and I have done and this year is very competitive in my opinion.

The recipient is be announced on December 13.

So far this year, the following pubs are the monthly best from February to September;

Joining these pubs are;

October: Two pubs in consecutive weeks shot the lights and are worthy finalists;

Avoca Hotel, Avoca. Neat but unassuming exterior masks a wonderful pub doing great things in the kitchen while supporting local suppliers at all levels.  Superior pub food, not overblown but sufficient ‘Wow’  factor to confirm you are dining at a better level.

Seven Creeks Hotel, Euroa. Sprawling homestead style for the exterior in this lovely town and has the pub to match with an inside that would kill them in any inner suburb of Melbourne (dark, intriguing) and a big beer garden, rambling and verdant, that in my opinion is the equal of any I have been to. Food and drink is very good.


  • Lamaro’s Hotel, Sth Melbourne. What a grand stayer on the Melbourne pub scene.  Seemingly a pub that has attracted the best in Melbourne hospitality for as long as I can remember. Glorious tiled exterior and  interior that basically splits into two; pub front bar and pub dining room. If it’s a catch up with a group having a couple or something special, all bases covered here. Very neat trick of pleasing all the people all (or most of) the time.

The four pubs for consideration for DeBortoli Pub of the Year are;

  1. Botanical Hotel, South Yarra. 
  2. Avoca Hotel, Avoca. 
  3. Seven Creeks, Euroa
  4. Lamaro’s Hotel, South Melbourne

DeBortoli Pubs of the Decade – 2010 – 2019:

Given the longevity of  the segment it was decided back in 1999, that the best of the best would be acknowledged by DeBortoli at the end of each decade.  The main criteria considered was excellence in hospitality taking into account food, drink, service, comfort and community, stability in ownership, and above all, popularity over an extended period.

Such is the longevity of this segment with Neil (30 years) the two pubs that have this honour are;

1990 – 1999. Emerald Hotel, South Melbourne. Indeed this was the pub of the year three times through the 90s under first Shane Healy, then Steve Price and me from 1996. The custodians,  the Lewis family, have run this pub for that period of time. The love affair that Melbourne has with this pub is unbreakable.  Most days of the week, whatever time of day, the Emerald has a buzz with people either at the bar or having a meal, taking it all in.  At the sake of repetition, if you are thinking of going into this business, there is a free seminar in hospitality 101 each day of the week.

2000 – 2009. Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. For the best part of the 00s, this was the posh pub of choice for many diners in Melbourne. The exterior is like no other in Melbourne and inside 3 (small split levels) were available to dine at, with never once losing the spirit of an inner suburban pub. Much credit to Scott Thomas, a fabulous cook prepared to change things up as far as food and drink goes and one of the first to embrace craft as an alternative to the norm.  This pub was deservedly much awarded during this time and beyond.

On Friday, December 13, the DeBortoli Pub of the Decade will be extended to 5 pubs as there are 3 pubs that have met this criteria throughout this decade.


Pub of the year will also be announced on 13/12, the 24th pub in my time. You can find this years pubs all reviewed, via our website,

Many thanks to the continued support of Vince Gurcuillo and team at DeBortoli Croydon.

pub of the week