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Tony Leonard presents 3AW’s Pub Of The Week for 2022

pub of the week
Article image for Tony Leonard presents 3AW’s Pub Of The Week for 2022

PUBS OF THE WEEK 2022

January 28, 2022: The Racecourse Hotel, Malvern East – 13.9/20
February 4, 2022: The Empress Hotel, Fitzroy North – 14.6/20
February 11, 2022: The Spotswood Hotel, Spotswood – 13.4/20
February 18, 2022: The Middle Park Hotel, Middle Park – 14.5/20
February 25, 2022: The Pig and Whistle Hotel, Trentham East – 13/20
March 4, 2022: The Limerick Arms Hotel, South Melbourne – 12.6/20
March 11, 2022: NO REVIEW (Neil’s Cruise for the Kids)
March 18, 2022: The Derrimut Hotel, Sunshine – 13/20
March 25, 2022: Goldys! Tavern, Collingwood – 14.4/20
April 1, 2022: The Hobsons Bay Hotel, Williamstown – 14.5/20
April 8, 2022: The Paradise Valley Hotel, Clematis – 14.6/20
April 15, 2022: NO REVIEW (Good Friday Appeal)
April 22, 2022: NO REVIEW
April 29, 2022: The Clyde Hotel, Carlton – 14/20
May 6, 2022: FIRST QUARTER REVIEW
May 13, 2022: The King Hotel, CBD – 13.5/20
May 20, 2022: The Vincent, Albert Park – 14.1/20
May 27, 2022: The Railway Hotel, Brunswick – 14.8/20
June 3, 2022: The Orrong Hotel, Armadale – 15.5/20
June 10, 2022: The Mona Castle Hotel, Seddon – 14.5/20
June 17, 2022: The Elphinstone Hotel, Elphinstone – 15.5/20
June 24, 2022: NO REVIEW
July 1, 2022: The Clayton Hotel, Clayton – 13.5/20
July 8, 2022: The Telegraph Hotel, Geelong West – 16/20
July 15, 2022: The Gertrude Hotel, Fitzroy – 14/20

3AW/DEBORTOLI PUB OF THE WEEK 2022 

And for its 32nd year, 3AW’s Pub of the Week is back in 2022.

Again, this is kindly supported by DeBortoli wines, and remains in its timeslot of 11.45am, Fridays.

The written reviews, that commenced around 2006, will be posted soon after.

One minor change to this year (after a listener request) is a return of scoring in decimals, e.g 13.7, 14.2 out of 20, rather than rounding to nearest half. The elements will stay the same (as inexact as they are) focusing more heavily on the levels of food and drink, but absolutely taking into account the comfort and community feel of each establishment, staff attitude etc. In short, everything that makes going to a pub in Victoria a great time.

As regular readers/listeners would already know, it is a random choice each week with a minimum of three years since a last visit. My preference is for owner/operator establishments, but pleasing to note that bigger corporate pubs are lifting their game in the provision of all levels of hospitality.

I encourage feedback of the pubs reviewed, and suggestions of pubs that you believe provide better levels of hospitality. My address is tony.leonard@macquariemedia.com.au and I will answer each of them.

Random thoughts for pubs in 2022

Feedback received from the Victorian Branch of the AHA indicates that the relationship between staff and customers, especially with COVID regulations, is harmonious and the checking in, wearing masks and social distancing in the majority is accepted, indeed welcomed, by all parties.

The main issue confronting publicans is staff retention; in particular all levels of kitchen workers. To that end, you may find that some pubs are not offering a food service yet and if so, the menu pared back. Obviously it hoped that this will be remedied as the year rolls on, but for the moment, you may wish to check before going to a pub for a get together to determine what is on offer.

To that end, it is incumbent on all pubs to keep social media platforms up to date and relevant. The surest way to get customers off side is having out of date pricing/opening hours on your website. It is a fundamental that cannot be stressed enough. (North Port Hotel, last year’s best, does its brilliantly).

This brings me an issue that needs urgent addressing, and if publicans are not having any success with this, then it needs to be escalated to Victorian Consumer Affairs.

One of the major, if not the absolute, way of finding and choosing a pub, is to Google the name and see what comes up.  The first page can make or break a venue and given the metaphorical kicks that hospitality has taken, anything unfairly detrimental can be a fatal blow.

What is blatantly unfair are review sites, e.g. TripAdvisor/Zomato/Yelp which carries a review highlighted with words such as “Disgusting “or “Horrible”, but the comments so far out of date – 5/6  years old and pertains to a previous management or 4 – that unless a consumer  drills down, people have already made up their minds not to go.

This needs to be addressed and while there are providers (Removify is one such who will do its best), you may be stuck with this noose in spite of best efforts to get rid of this. Reasonable comment that is current (I think 15-18 months is a shelf life for some accuracy) is fine: total inaccurate and misleading is something the hospitality industry does not need after the past 24 months.

Please contact the Victorian Branch of the AHA and bring the pressure to have this changed.

Food/Drink trends in Pubs

If you’re going to a pub, three meals are starting to trend on pubs menus in 2022. For sure not everywhere, but certainly in enough places, and done well fit the beautiful catchall of “Pub Grub”.  These are;

  • Spring Rolls; These have become the “Swiss Army Knife” of pub entrees. Solely the domain of vegetable for years, if it can be wrapped in filo pastry, deep fried and served then they are wonderful with beer. First was the Cheese Burger spring roll (Park, Abbotsford) may have been the trailblazer there; now Duck Rolls are as prevalent a trio of dips,
  • Nasi Goreng: A glorious fried rice combination, first seen on our TVs in the 60s/70s. It makes sense though as a big serve of fried rice with a stack of spicy flavoursome meat/seafood/vegetables to support, this can make for a well-priced main meal. (Make sure the egg is running!),
  • Whole flounder. Has started to make a comeback and now, along with the omnipresent Atlantic salmon, is appearing on pub menus. Always looks mighty impressive!

The price of a pot in Victoria is recommended around $6. A broken record by me I know, but please publicans make sure it is served at its best all the time.  The range continues to expand where brands like Mountain Goat, Stone/Wood, and Stomping Ground are no longer seen as “indie” but part of a mainstream offering.  But new boys like Kaiju, Huntingdale Vic //Wolf of the Willows, Mordialloc are serving up some top notch brews.

Closing:

Like so many consumers, I openly barrack for pubs and their staff that put their hearts and souls into their businesses for a great and successful year. There is no doubt considerable cost has been incurred by many over the past 2 years.

Anecdotally things are slowly returning to normal; never more so have personal virtues like patience and understanding been required and it appears that is the case in the majority. 

I implore all pubs to get the information streams in order and keep us informed at all times.

Looking forward to 2022 and presenting Pub of the Week. Thanks again to Neil Mitchell for 3 decades of patience. Similar thanks to Vince Gurcuillo and the team at DeBortoli, for continued support.

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