Sitting on the corner of busy Epping Road, The Ranch is the only pub around for a good distance. As a result, it's popular with a pretty wide range of people - office workers from nearby Macquarie Park drop in for a meal during the week, but on the weekends it's dominated by local families and students from Macquarie Uni.
As far as pubs go, this place is pretty huge. It boasts a couple of bars, an ever-popular bistro and a huge balcony with stacks of seating. Out on this balcony is the best place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, taking in some sun as you sip on a beer. The traffic on Epping Road can be noisy on a weekday, but this problem disappears on the weekend.
The outdoor area is the perfect spot for a relaxing beer in the sun.
Inside, there's the usual TAB and pokies areas, which are usually well-patronised by the locals. The nearby bistro has been newly renovated but still always draws a crowd. You'll find the usual suspects here, like chicken schnitzels, beef burgers and a selection of juicy steaks. The cuisine is promoted as modern Australian, which basically means there's a bit of everything, from pasta to salad and everything in between. Prices are roughly what you'd expect for this sort of establishment and the servings are always generous so you won't go hungry.
In terms of drinks, there's a pretty respectable range of beers on tap for a suburban pub. The usual favourites are there, of course, but a few of the more boutique brands also make an appearance. Occasional specials - for example, $10 for a jug of Carlton Draught - are pretty hard to pass up. There's a decent wine list and a few cocktails on offer - and if you want anything more fancy than that, you don't belong in a suburban pub.
Drive past the Ranch along Epping Road and you'll usually see advertising promoting some sort of special. These range from Friday night DJs and cheap drink deals right through to meat raffles, kids' menus and discounted roasts for seniors.
Though it can get busy during peak times, the best way to describe the atmosphere at the Ranch is relaxed. It's the sort of place that attracts families and a few older folks during meal times, but will still pull in a younger crowd on late nights.
It may not be a trendy inner-city establishment, but it's a damn good place for a cold beer and a decent feed. Could you possibly want anything more from your local watering hole?