Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews Hotel Westwood, Footscray
Where? 28 Napier Street, Footscray.
When? June 18, 2021.
In all respects, this week’s pub, the Hotel Westwood, should be spoken of in the past, not present tense.
Massive, cavernous pub on big block land in Footscray, it has traded as the Exchange and Reverence over the years, and indeed after its previous sale back in 2019, last rites had been given.
But with a commitment from the new owners to stay the course and being a haven to live music, pub mexican food and a range of craft beer, the Hotel Westwood lives and is beloved.
On entering it is colorful but dimly lit, the air filled by 60s/70s rock (when I was there) that bore more than a passing resemblance to Led Zep or Black Sabbath. A pool table sits quietly at the end of the first dining area, a massive circular bar dominating the landscape.
Great attentive courteous staff, adapting to COVID protocols, dining moves into a tabled area, semi-circular booths, big fireplace and smallish band area complete the indoor scene. Beer garden to the rear.
Food is essentially Mexican, small, punchy menu: wine offers different smaller labels. Ordering from the tables, it is comfortable and likeable.
Best of all popular. This is a modern offering that fits in with its environs, but quintessentially Footscray. And long may it trade.
Given the nature of the food offering at the moment (kitchen is being installed and mexican comes from a food truck), there are basically 2 types of food offered;
- Pies from Pie Thief, which you can choose Steak and Cheese, Lasagne, Vegan spaghetti Bolognaise, and Pork/Fennel Sausage roll or
- Mexican choices of tacos, Empanadas, Fully Loaded Chips w/Guacamole, Beans, Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo.
That’s about it. While Coopers is the Dominant Commercial Brand on tap with 3 styles (very good), a range of different craft is offered, Brooklyn Lager at 6/pot was served and enjoyed. Wine is around the mean price of $10-12pg, %0-55/btle. A real spoil awas the pub offering Scotchman Hill as its house (10pg//40/btle).
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $6
- Mains – $20
- Dessert – not really
- ‘Pie Thief’ Steak and Cheese Pie, Salad, Chips. $20. Chosen from one of the “Pie Thief” range, it was filling and tasty, plenty of salad and chips and well executed.
- Mexican Feast $22. Choosing from 2 tacos/empanadas, the meal arrives in a colourful plastic “in tray” on plastic plate replete with; 2 small-medium tacos, (chicken/fish) 2 empanadas (beef/chicken), 2 small pots of salsa/guacamole, and mess of thick (good) corn chips. Simple execution, tasty bites, all good.
If Footscray be the poster child for the social/cultural/demographic example of how working class inner suburbs have changed, then the Hotel Westwood is the acme of this seismic shift from a pub point of view.
Here is a pub that now provides live music ( the legendary Rose Tattoo will play in October), embraces Craft Beer from across the planet, has Saturday Arvo Drag Shows (the Ghosts of 3uz and Bert Bryant long gone) which feature the cultural phenomenon RuPaul Drag Race (when a series is aired) and provides Mexican Food as its menu staple.
But it all works. The crowd is all ages, the service is fine and the feel good vibe of a traditional pub is all there.
Good, fun, times ensured.