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Pub Of The Week! Tony Leonard’s latest reviews!

Neil Mitchell
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Starting from February 1 on Neil Mitchell’s program about 11.45am each Friday, the Pub Of The Week is presented by me for the 24th year.

The segment has been part of his program since 1990, with previous reviewers Shane Healy and Steve Price.

Many thanks to our sponsor DeBortoli for the past 30 years and the feedback from listeners with recommendations.

These reviews will appear at soon after the Friday broadcast for that week and approximately 40 pubs will be covered off.

Given the longevity of the segment, there will be some re-reviews (not within a three-year span if possible) but the preference is owner/operator pubs, with as many being run without pokies (although not excluded).

I genuinely encourage feedback of the pubs reviewed, and suggestions. My address is and I will answer each of them.

Format of Review:

These will not change significantly with the staples of what was eaten, how the pub is run, how it presents all retained.

Scoring out of 20 still remains; most pubs will fall between 12.5-14, and a point between pubs is significant.

However, there is an issue, to me, that needs addressing by pub owners/managers/staff. BACKGROUND MUSIC.

In the time of doing the reviews, the simplest yet hardest dish to me to get absolutely bang on is the Calamari.

It cannot be under/overcooked, over/under seasoned, left at the pass, brought slowly losing heat.

One seemingly small misstep and you may as well chomp down on an old Dunlop Volley OC.

BACKGROUND MUSIC falls into this fickle category.

Volume, music selection, time of the day (lunch/dinner), demographics are just a part of getting it right.

The main reason people go to a pub is to meet up, communicate over a meal, interact.

Nothing destroys this more than a continual ”what was that”, as the bass in the latest house classic throbs mercilessly.

The reason for a pubs existence is to provide a safe haven, a place of community with hospitality; it is not to inflict your musical preference.


Weekly at random still remains and mainly within the metropolitan area.

Country/regional pubs continue to offer different and deliver to high standards and if there are any that deserve recognition via pub of the week let me know.

If comfortably driveable during the day then will do utmost to check them out.


The best element to Melbourne pub life in late 2018 is the willingness of true believers of pubs to take up the challenge of running a pub in the inner suburbs rather than be transformed into units.

These will survive with your support. It is pretty much the status quo the further you get out into the ‘burbs.

Curiously, the much loved craft beer market is at saturation point – in inner suburban pubs – and getting a Carlton D isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.

As long as it is served well, right glassware, then the competition is good.

$5.5/pot is the median for commercial and /6-6.5 for craft.

Look for imported lower carbs beer to emerge on tap in 2019.

At the end of this year, the pub of the decade will be announced.

This is for sustained excellence in all facets of a pub – not restricted to any one element of the hospitality package.

The Emerald Hotel South Melbourne (1990-99) and the Courthouse North Melbourne (2000-09) were acknowledged for this.

Thanks again to Vince Gurcuillo and the team at DeBortoli, sponsors of Pub of the Week since 1990.



Feb 1: Retreat Hotel, Abbotsford – 14/20

Feb 8: Royston Hotel, Richmond – 13.5/20


Feb 22: Heathcote Inn, Heathcote – 13.5/20

March 1: Bleakhouse Hotel, Albert Park – 14.5/20

March 8: Rogue Squire, Wheelers Hill – 13.5/20

March 15: NO REVIEW

March 22: Union Club Hotel, Fitzroy – 12/20

March 29: Skinny Dog Hotel, Kew – 14.5/20

April 5: Railway Hotel, Windsor – 14/20

April 12: Union Hotel, Ascot Vale – 13/20

April 19: NO REVIEW

April 26: NO REVIEW

May 3: Sandringham Hotel – 13/20

May 10: Broadford Hotel – 13/20

May 17: Drums Corner Hotel, Coburg – 13.5/20

May 24: Terminus, Abbotsford – 13.5/20

May 31: Victoria Hotel, Brunswick – 13/20


June 14: Prince Alfred, Carlton – 13.5/20

June 21: Village Belle, St Kilda – 14.5/20

June 28: Glengala Hotel, Sunshine West – 11.5/20

July 5: Victoria Hotel, Woodend – 13.5/20

July 12: Bush Inn Hotel, Toorak – 13.5/20

July 19: Victoria Hotel, Footscray – 14/20

July 26: Burvale Hotel, Nunawading – 12.5/20

Aug 2: Charles Weston Hotel, Brunswick – 13.5/20

Aug 9: Charles Dickens Tavern, CBD – 13/20

Aug 16: No review

Aug 23: Quiet Man, Flemington – 13/20

Aug 30: Cross Tavern, St Kilda – 13/20

Sept 9: Botanical, South Yarra – 15.5/20

Sept 13: Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster – 13/20

Sept 20: York on Lilydale, Mt Evelyn – 13/20


October 4: Morning Star Hotel, Williamstown – 12.5/20

October 11: Garfield Hotel, Garfield – 13/20

October 18: Avoca Hotel – Avoca – 15.5/20

October 25: Seven Creeks Hotel, Euroa – 15.5/20

November 1: Three Crowns Hotel, West Melbourne – 13.5/20

November 8: Lamaro’s Hotel, South Melbourne – 15.5/20

November 15: East Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick East – 13.5/20

November 22: Grand Hotel, Richmond – 15.5/20

November 29: Marong Family Hotel, Marong – 13/20


Neil Mitchell