Melbourne Top 50 Pubs in Melbourne: 40 to 31
Number 40: The Birmy (Fitzroy)
The Birmingham Hotel has been on a radar for years, but this is the first time it has cracked the top 50. That was because of the constant changes in management; from hosting parties of dubious ultra right wing groups about a decade ago, to one owner putting out the sign "We are not shit anymore", we wanted to make sure this was the real deal. After a false start of only having CUB happy hours (that's a no-no), they now have quality specials and an excellent parma which has been named the best in Melbourne the past two years by Parma Daze. Looks like it will be climbing the rankings in years to come.
Number 39: Clifton Brew Pub (Clifton Hill)
Extensively renovated four years ago, the Clifton Brew Pub has transformed a tired old boozer (not without its charm mind you) into a real craft beer destination, where their own brews are made on the premises. Add quality grub and friendly mixed demographic we can see this rising even higher in the list next year.
Food: We really rate the kitchen, especially the parma and the big share plates. The Sunday Roast lunch is so big it we didn’t eat til Monday morning after it.
Beer Garden: We like the tables out on the road, where motorists stop at the lights with jealously in their eyes.
Specials: A cracking Friday special that showcases everything on tap!
Number 38 - The Snug (Brunswick)
The Snug changed hands two years ago and we were a little bit worried because the previous publicans knew exactly how to make a pub warm and inviting. Though we do miss them, the Snug hasn't dropped the ball. With extremely large portioned meals (try the stew, though we also rate the roast very highly as well), quality Guinness poured to perfection, traditional craic often in the corner and great drink specials, it's one of the best pubs in Melbourne in which to lift your spirits.
Beer Garden: Comfy little nook out the back. Head there early if you want it.
Beer List: Guinness will do nicely thank you. Join the 101 club if you dare.
Food: Great hearty fare (look at the Urbanspoon ranking). We especially like the Irish stew served in a loaf of bread. A proven flu killer.
Number 37 - Grace Darling Hotel (Collingwood)
There is no other pub in Melbourne that twists our emotions as much as the Grace Darling. You could call it a love/hate relationship because we used to love it and then we hated it for no other reason in that it changed. You see it used to be pretty grimy and old-school. That kind of place elderly gentlemen who like a beer frequent most hours. We liked it. Then it changed and the hipsters moved in. At first we refused to go there but sometimes a band we wanted to see was playing there so we went. We admitted it did have a good band room. Then we ate there. We admitted the burger was top quality. Then we found out the happy hour and basically we go there on a weekly basis. It won us over very slowly but now it's one of our "locals". At least once a week. Kudos for not changing specials too much too.
Beer Garden: Has one on the corner of peel street. Nice vantage point to watch passers by.
Food: High quality pub fare.
Music: Lots of it. Great music venue including an intimate little basement.
First Date: 9/10 - Women really seem to love this place judging by the demographics.
Specials: Some of the best in town. See here.
Number 36 - The Alehouse Project (Brunswick East)
The are three things that make a good beer bar. The first is obviously a good selection of beer but it's much more than that. The beers must turn over continuously as to offer the customer a differing range. Many beer places around town seem to have the same 5 taps on forever. We really appreciate hard to find collaboration brews or rare seasonal drops. A hand pump doesn't go astray either. Secondly the food must cater for the beers on offer. High quality produce and interesting variations of common pub meals are the go. Thirdly the dynamics of the space should facilitate communal drinking. Large wooden tables, intimate beer gardens, etc. A space that gets people talking. Thank you Alehouse for nailing all three.
Number 35 - Woodlands Hotel (Coburg)
The interior to the Woodlands Hotel isn’t that of your typical pub. It’s a cross between a Game of Thrones set, an Alice in Wonderland prop and an old school boozer. The atrium out the back is also one of our favourite yet underrated beer gardens in town. The beer list is proudly Victorian with over 50 craft beers available in bottle and on tap, and the menu is made with beer in mind. Their chargrilled, slow-cooked pork rib is one my Top 10 go to dishes in town. Geez, I think I’ll go there for lunch now.
Beer Garden: A special wooden atrium out the back. Resembles a medieval Viking beer hall.
Beers: Some of Victoria’s best. Slurp Slurp.
Food: Beer food…really good beer food. Gobble Gobble.
Specials: Wednesday Curry Night is a cracker.