You can easily imagine these corner pubs in their infancy. In the good old days when a Holden was the car to buy and a twenty was enough to shout all your mates, these iconic hotels would have been in their glory. Now these corner pubs have been rejuvenated with love, and have broad appeal and possibilities. Steeped with history, stories to tell and varied entertainment, these pubs are much more than a stop on the way home. Reviewed in no particular order, these pubs are well and truly worth a visit.
820 Plenty Rd South Morang
Kids play while you relax
This large Commercial Hotel once advertised proudly that it was the last drinking spot before Whittlesea. It's not and wasn't because the Bridge Inn in Mernda hotel is closer. It's changed a lot and is obviously now geared for families. It has a glassed in play centre in the middle of the tables for good parental supervision.
You can be sure of a warm welcome at the Commercial Hotel and a very large meal for a steal. Where else can you get a crispy wood fired pizza for $7.50? In addition the order to serving time was very speedy.
The child sized calamari and chips were big enough for two. No left overs are allowed to be taken away.
There is an extensive menu including starters, light meals (if you call chicken souvlaki at $22.50 light), six seafood meals, pasta, risotto and pizza. If you're a little hungrier they also serve chargrilled food. A 300 g steak cost $24 or for the 750 g Graziers rump you would be set back $38.50. I don't know how you would eat the Commercial mixed grill ($35). They also have six different types of Parma ranging from $19.50-$24.
They have gluten-free options and senior's meal deals (lunch only). Choices are limited but predictable including roast, fish, chicken and lasagna. Desert choices are apple crumble, Pavlova or ice cream (only $11).
There are lots of cheap food deals, for example kids meals for five dollars and an extra dollar for a drink. On Wednesday nights they have $13 ribs. On Thursday nights two adults and two children can eat for $40. Morning melodies are five dollars a show including morning tea.
The Commercial Hotel has a great family pizza deal: 2 large pizzas plus one free small pizza. They also have a bottle shop – right next to Dan Murphy's!
To sum it up: The Commercial Hotel have quick service, cheap and tasty food in large portions and a kid's play area.
The frontage is in the old style while out back it's modern
This really was the last pub before Whittlesea, when Whittlesea was considered a country town. The Bridge Inn is now a large ultra modern venue, which includes a number of restaurants catering for singles, couples and families. It also boasts a kid's playroom, function rooms, a gaming room and a bar with live music. They have to because they can cater for up to 500 diners in a night.
The Bridge Inn has many of the expected pub meals with a few inexpensive and unique surprises. Pastas start from $22, salads from $17, a 300g porterhouse is $31 and a 500g T bone $35. All kids meals include 2 scoops of ice-cream and a drink. Seniors meals are a reasonable price. On Monday-Friday a two-course meal is only $15 and a 3-course meal is $20. Every diner receives a $5 gaming room voucher. They also cater for Vegetarians or vegans.
If you are into desserts, for $14 you can get something different like a banana bread and pudding with rum and raisin ice cream. Alternatively you can go to the lounge and have a dessert for $4 while watching the entertainment. I recommend the rich chocolate mousse on a soft chocolate cake with ganashe on top.
The Bridge Inn has entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday nights and Sunday during the day. In this part of the venue, pizzas, light and substantial meals are served. The night we went a guitar and singing duo kept us entertained.
To sum it up: The Bridge Inn is a one-stop family and young person's entertainment complex. There are many choices of food and entertainment in the one venue.
The green pea soup landmark pub has been redeveloped by the Sand Hill Road hospitality group.
The Terminus has a capacity for 516 patrons. There are five unique bars, 120 seats available, an outdoor terrace and an upstairs lounge. The upstairs mezzanine includes a terrace bar with three spectacular roped booths consistent with the jungle theme.
The designers have successfully captured the spirit of the old venue in a creative way. The new Terminus Hotel centres around the architecturally unique beer garden with large trees that have created a rainforest canopy under a glass roof.
On Wednesday's Bingo is played just like it was twenty years ago. Upstairs has a nightclub feel where you can look down at the entertainment below until midnight and be entertained by the DJ upstairs until very late.
The menu features classic, fresh, accessible pub favorites including chicken Parma's, steaks, salads and seafood. But don't be fooled, while you can get a simple burger and crispy hot chips served at the bar, the food is also created for discerning diners and those who admire meal presentation.
The Terminus also has an impressive grazing list from $10 and make sure you save room for desserts.
Look out for their mid week specials and on Sundays $20 cocktail jugs. Every Friday at 5pm a keg of beer is tapped at every Sand Hill venue and patrons can pay whatever they feel is fair for a pot with all funds directed to one of Karma Keg's nominated charities.
The 'grand old lady' of Abbotsford is back and you shouldn't miss it. This iconic Melburnian pub is in a class of its own. The Terminus Hotel is open from midday until late daily and 3:00am every Friday and Saturday night. Lunch and dinner bookings and reservations of particular spaces can be made. Access for all comers is possible via an elevator.
To sum it up: A classy, unique establishment with impeccable service and delicious food. Even if you don't go for the food or drink, you have to go just for the architectural wonderment.
A laneway down the middle and plenty of private eating areas
The plain white exterior of the Bridge Hotel in Richmond gives no indication of the classy, innovative and imaginative interior. The recent renovation has created a lane way inside the hotel, which has private overlooking balconies. This is reminiscent of the streets of New Orleans.
Within the hotel there are several unique areas, for example open dining, wraparound seats, tall bar tables and stools, comfy lounges with eclectic cushions, intimate private spaces, outdoor tables under umbrellas, retro style dining booths and open spaces. Various intriguing dividers and styling give the impression of private party spaces. Take time to appreciate the art, photos and eclectic collection of bikes in the stairwell and other unique adornments.
The Bridge Hotel caters for families with children, young people, those enjoying their retirement and everyone in between.
To give you an idea of the food served, you can enjoy a 200 g Black Angus cheeseburger with salad relish, American mustard, pickles and chips for $21.The southern fried chicken with smashed avocado, and brioche Buns is also $21. The pie floater is served with creamy mash, mushy peas and gravy ($24). Other traditional pub meals such as fish and chips, chicken Parma's and steak sandwiches are done in the Sand hill way – with style and flair.
To sum it up: A party style venue with lots of private nooks and crannies.
Various paint layers from the years are partially revealed by the work of renovators. This gives the pub a shabby chic look. Inside some of the original features have been maintained with an open fireplace, ruby lamps and timberwork. More recent restoration and rejuvenation includes mosaic features, exposed ducts and multi-leveled dining area.
This place is buzzing on Friday and Saturday nights with standing room only. It's a great spot for people watching. The Provincial is right in the heart of Brunswick Street's shopping, dining and nightlife precinct. It is a great place to meet and sit by the fire, have a starter, relax for a hearty meal or for a nightcap. The drinks are strong but not cheap and the menu tempting. Look out for the specials.
The Provincial hotel has a bar, a classy restaurant and function room facilities. So while you are in Fitzroy for shopping or dining be sure to stop in at the Provincial.