Railway Club Hotel
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A classic pub steakhouse has quality, charm and cheek
If you can remember what “fancy” pub steakhouses were like in the 1980s, you know all about the Railway. The dining room sports maroon carpets, white paper-on-cloth covered tables, and ’70s housebrick walls crowded with framed netball heroes, jockey colours and Don Bradman driving for the boundary. It’s packed even on a Tuesday, families next to groups of businessmen in shirtsleeves next to tradies in hi-vis. The beer and Barossa shiraz flow like a river, carried by chatty servers in ill-fitting blacks three to a hand, trays be damned. But what you might not expect for this historical pub reenactment is the quality of the food.
These steaks are among the best of any restaurant in the city. They’re dry aged for a minimum of 20 days, expertly chargrilled and served on giant plates accompanied by mustard service, three kinds of butter and little copper saucepans of red wine jus. Around the other side of the pub (or through the toilets if you’re being sneaky), the public bar has TVs playing the footy, trots and doggies. The lovely ladies behind the bar know the names of the regulars, and remember faces years later. It’s full in here for happy hour, with an older crowd swilling $3 pots of Carlton. A chalkboard above the bar advertises cheap counter meals, and like one of the bartenders says, it’s like stepping into a time warp. Some of the staff have been here for years.
But even this part of the pub is immaculately kept and doesn’t feel depressed at all – ancient bottles polished and toilets fresh as a daisy. The quote of the year comes from one of the amazing barmaids here, who sagely informs us that “even the folks with a bit of toffee in their mouths who say, ‘Thank God we’ve got a booking in the dining room’ – well, once they’ve got a few sherbets in ’em, they all end up in the public bar.” Sitting here with a pot of draught and a nip of whisky, chatting to this crew while they enjoy a knock off, we can’t half blame them.