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Friday, 8 February 2013

The Union Club Hotel

WARNING:  I'm going to rave a bit in this one, so if it makes you want to vomit or roll your eyes, stop reading now.

Things I Love About The Union Club Hotel (164 Gore Street, Fitzroy):

  • It's a classic Aussie, red-brick corner pub that hasn't been overly updated and yet doesn't feel in the slightest old-fashioned. 

...except for the occasional stained glass window.

  • It's located somewhere in between Smith, Brunswick and Gertrude Streets, so not every man and his dog goes there, therefore making it overcrowded or uber-hipster-wanky. 
  • There's a pool table. [Side note: I learnt to play pool on my grandparents' pool table whenever we visited them in Queensland, so pool tables give me a nostalgic, warm fuzzy feeling. Can anyone recommend other great pool-playing places in Melbourne?] 

Main bar

  • There are heaps of sections to choose from: a main bar area complete with fireplace, tables, armchairs and the pool table; dining room; small front bar with bar stool seating; streetside tables out on Gore Street; a large beer garden with couches and tables; or a modern upstairs deck area (a relatively new addition) with built-in wooden benches and tables. 

Beer garden

Street seating

  • Second ladies toilet upstairs (soooo valuable to know about when it's busy).
  • The food's really good. They do classic pub grub like parmas, burgers and so on, but also have a specials board, and offer interesting choices like kangaroo, or fried camembert. The menu is also big - lots of yummy choices! 

Chicken with potatoes, beans and mushroom sauce

Kangaroo steak with broccolini, mash, macadamias and beetroot

Salmon on bed of potato, egg and cos salad

Sorry I don't remember what this was but it came with HUGE macadamias!

Mmmm breaky meat.

  • It's a great place to hang out pretty much any day or night of the week, summer or winter, whether it's quiet or packed, for pretty much any occasion (date, catch-up drinks, weekend beer session, cosy winter pub meal). (This is probably the rave-iest part.) 
  • Good variety of drinks available. 

  • Comfortable, cool, chilled-out vibe. Everyone is welcome, and this pub is not pretentious in the slightest. 
  • The plants and fairy lights in the beer garden, and crappy retro furniture and carpet inside. 

  • Proximity to the goodness of Smith Street. 
  • It's open on Monday nights. (Win!) 
  • There's bicycle racking out the front.

  • Events like trivia and pop-up markets (although I've never witnessed any of these). 
  • Decent music. 
  • Randomly bumping into friends there. 

Things I Don't Love About The Union Club Hotel: 

  • The name. It's too generic! There are far too many Union Hotels or Something-Clubs around. You have to give friends the exact address so they know which pub you mean. Also, since it's been used as an occasional set in the TV show "Offspring", too many people refer to it as "that pub in Offspring". IT WAS GOOD BEFORE THEN, PEOPLE! 
  • The staff can be a bit grumpy. But they serve me alcohol, so I still love them. 
  • Having to go all the way back downstairs to the bar or loo from the rooftop deck. (Unless this has changed since the last time I was up on the deck??)
  • It's really hard to get out of some of the couches once you're in them. (OK, not really a problem, but... true.) 
  • Proximity to the dodginess of Smith Street. 
  • The toilets can be a bit on the dirty side. 
  • I'm not a fan of dining rooms in pubs. They always feel a bit boring and tacky. Why not expand into another plush bar area - just one with more tables?! 
  • Other than these very minor points... Not much. 

That is all.

Union Club Hotel on Urbanspoon