The Drysdale Hotel is a very big venue, in a very little town. It's easy to spot with its bright, red bricks and matching window awnings. The grand, 1930s building stands out as one of the focal points of the Geelong/Portarlington Road.
The hotel is made up of three main areas; the sportsbar, bistro and beer garden. If you're visiting the first of these, you can enjoy live SkyChannel sports coverage, played on large-screen TVs. You can put a bet on using PUBTAB or challenge your mates to a game of pool.
8232;If it's a relaxing drink that you're after, then the beer garden with its pleasant shade and sets of outdoor tables, is the place to be. The pub serves Carlton Draft, Carlton Mid, Fat Yak, Bulmers and VB on tap. It's primarily Australian wines that appear on their list, many of which come from very local vineyards, such as Leura Park and Oakdene, less than five kilometres away.
8232;The bistro at The Drysdale is popular and can become quite busy for lunches and dinners. During 2009 and 2011, it was recognised as a finalist in the Australian Hotels Association State Awards for Excellence in the "Best Casual/Family Dining" category, and it's not hard to see why.
As part of the menu, there is a selection for children but unlike other bistros, it lists proper meals like Atlantic salmon and chicken tenderloins, instead of supplying them with only a cursory bowl of chips or pasta.
The bistro also has an enclosed playroom for children with tall, perspex windows so that parents can keep an eye on what their young ones are up to. The kids can occupy themselves with toys or by playing the arcade games after they have finished eating and the adults can enjoy each others conversation and quietly linger over their meals in peace.
The bistro menu follows the 'meat and three veg' tradition and dishes up standard, Australia fare with uncomplicated flavours. You can order meals like beef and mushroom pie, grilled chicken breast, scotch fillet and fish-of-the-day or for something a little bit special, try the local 'Portarlington Mussels - steamed with fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic, served with a crusty roll'. ($16.90). There's a loin of lamb as well, prepared somewhat daringly with 'wattle seeds, seeded mustard, macadamia nuts and spinach' ($ 25.90)
For dessert, the Drysdale offers 'Italian Berry Pudding - sponge fingers, mixed berries served with vanilla ice-cream and double-cream' ($8.90) or the 'Frangelico Creme Brulee - topped with coffee and served with double-cream and shortbread' ($8.90), among other treats.
Parking is available, just of Murooduc Road however, there's no need to risk drink-driving as the pub provides a courtesy bus to local residents, that upon booking, will collect them from their homes around town and drive them back again afterwards.