Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Town Hall Hotel, North Melbourne
Town Hall Hotel
Where? 33 Errol Street, North Melbourne.
When? June 11, 2021.
The descriptor “old school pub” , whilst one of endearment, tends to be overused in any venue that is a little tattered around the outside but has had a makeover inside.
Let me assure you: The Town Hall looks as if untouched since it started trading in 1872. But this is part of its charm.
Comprising 3 main areas, the public bar is the first to greet you on entering from Errol St. Compact for sure, the walls are adorned by old Vinyl LP covers, posters of previous rock tours around the globe, tables jammed in to dine and a small front bar (if you can get close enough), to enjoy the good vibes.
Through to the dining room, exposed kitchen, a similar tale is told. It is screamingly popular with a menu to please at very fair prices. An enclosed, colourful beer garden to the rear with a sort of cobble-stoned laneway, tables to dine if the numbers grow larger.
The intangible, mysterious “vibe’ is captured here. A good place to visit, meet up, socialise and enjoy. Over all the years of talking pubs in Victoria, the Town Hall is unique in this manner: It doesn’t seem to do anything overtly different, but it is one of the go-to pubs in Melbourne.
Always busy, bustling, crowded, attracting loyalty from suburbs away, just to be there. It is very good.
Extensive, honest pub grub fairly priced. Nothing trickly worked or over fancy, just pub grub done well, big plates and comfort food as we remember.
Entrees of chilli calamari (14), Tacos of all manner ($6/ea), nachos/wedges etc.
But the Town Hall main menu is an honour roll of what was served in pubs years ago, and still remains so popular. Burgers, Chicken/Beef, with different mayos, pickle, chese, suiting the meat, all w/chips, (20), Steak Sanga (22), turkish bread, caramelised onion, mustard mayo, through to Fish of the day (Flake) C&S, (24) through to a fully plated 350g Eye Fillet at $38.
Good range of Vegetarian e.g., – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Eggplant Parma, all priced around $20. The wine list is priced around the mark (10pg/45/btle), and a range of beers, with the trusted pot of Carlton Draught served well.
(Note: Prices listed, range shown on web-site are at odds with the menus in-house. Again to all operators, pls make sure your info is as up to date as possible).
The average prices are;
- Entrees – $13
- Mains – $22
- Dessert – $10
- Duck Spring Rolls, hoi sin, 2/$12. Absolutely packed with duck, veg in support, cooked and served hot with a crisp filo case, these were generous and filling, VERY good start.
- Burger w/lot, bacon, egg, caramelised onion, tomato, mustard mayo – $20 ($4 extra patty). Big serve, house made, great ingredients, fully plated, all good.
- Italian Sausages, mash, peas, brown onion gravy. $20. If ever a dish resembles what this pub is about, it was the Bangers and Mash. Rich, dark pool of gravy, spicy snags, big, big serve, Yep.
The singularly different, most unique looking pub (inside) in Melbourne. (Bridge, Richmond on the podium for the silver medal).
There is an attraction, whether it be the cheek to jowl public bar / old style bistro, the great pub beer garden/enclosed beer laneway that couldn’t be replicated by anyone, nor accurately quantified by any metric. Always gloriously dimly lit.
The fact is, simply put, it just works. And maybe, it could be as straightforward as running the pub in the manner that is expected by anyone, of any age, expects: Fun, Friendly, Inviting, Communal.
Out of sheer and utter curiosity, go, step in, enjoy. The Town Hall Hotel, North Melbourne is a ripper.