Skip to main content

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

Popular posts from this blog

The Lui Bar

In my opinion, some places are simply better experienced than described. This post features many photos which hardly do The Lui Bar (Level 55, Rialto Towers, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne) justice, because no matter how many pictures I show you or words I write about it, there is just nothing like viewing Melbourne from 55 floors up, handcrafted cocktail in hand, listening to jazz.

The Lui Bar stems off Shannon Bennett's revered restaurant Vue De Monde, the degustation meal of which is absolutely on my bucket list. The restaurant was moved to the Rialto site in 2011, and its adjoining bar has also been making waves ever since.

Iconic in location, the venue not only occupies the top level of what was, in 1986, the tallest building in Melbourne and the Southern Hemisphere at 251 metres, but offers spectacular city views of up to 60 kilometres on a clear day. Even the Eureka Tower, currently Melbourne's tallest building at 297.3 metres, looks smaller from the Rialto's former …

Steak Night and Pub Meal Specials

Want Melbourne Patron blog posts delivered straight to your inbox? Click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of this page and follow the simple instructions. Magic!

I am a sucker for a good steak, and lately, what with moving house and all the extra expenses that incurs, I've been on the lookout for great pub specials such as steak nights. I've been keeping a list on my phone of some of the deals I've found at venues around my home and work (mostly in the CBD, Fitzroy/Collingwood, Richmond/Abbotsford, South Yarra/Prahran/Windsor, South Melbourne) - and there are lots, so please note I haven't tried them all. Several of my friends have asked me to send them a copy of the list - so I figure this way, I can share it with everybody who might be interested!

PLEASE NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the pub specials in Melbourne (there are many websites for that already!), nor is it necessarily current. I will do my best to keep it up-to-date - if…


Minamishima A Japanese den by a sushi master, hidden in Richmond 
If you're the sort that baulks at $150-per-head set menus, you'll never truly appreciate a place like Minamishima (4 Lord Street, Richmond).

Sure, it's got a price tag. But for foodie purists, every cent is worth it. You are not just paying for supreme-grade ingredients, some of which are regularly shipped in from a Tokyo fish market, prepared by world-class, highly skilled chefs, presented impeccably and all melt-in-your-mouth, oh-my-God orgasmic. You are paying for the anticipation. For the ever-filled water glass and replenished napkin. For the hushed, dramatic mood of the restaurant itself. For dishes timed to perfection, and the en-pointe realisation of your most specific drink requirements. You are paying for the entire experience.

In my opinion? It's better than a weekend away, which is hella more expensive.

Minamishima opened in October 2014 with no fanfare. Owner-chef Koichi Minamishima spent t…