The Palace Hotel: South Melbourne
Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Time Out's 2016 Pub of the Year remains at the head of the pack
The Palace remains one of the brightest jewels in the crown of Melbourne pubdom. On every scale one could judge a pub, these guys top the list. From beer, to sports, to food, to service, this unassuming little boozer has you covered.
First and foremost, the Palace is made for regulars. It has a community atmosphere that’s hard to find these days, as most pubs have become either sad old boozers or too bright and trendy. Not so here, where the crowd is diverse in age and employment, kids are welcome, and the big shady beer garden is proudly pooch positive.
But despite the fundamental lack of pretension here, the Palace is no slouch when it comes to quality. The simple pub meals are some of the best around – no-frills curries, parmas, pies and steaks that always hit the spot, plus the best Buffalo wings in town. Fifteen dollars will get you a different meal every day except Friday and Saturday. The rotating craft beer list is always engaging but never too challenging with local heroes like Wolf of the Willows XPA and Holgate Temptress, plus something dark and delicious on the hand pump, like an outstanding porter from Napoleon. They’re an official Good Beer Week venue, there’s always a fun brew-based event around the corner, too.
If you’re a sports fan, you’re in the right place. These guys are AFL obsessed, the walls adorned in footy memorabilia, and will play any game for you on one of multiple screens so you never miss a point. AFL not your thing? Fear not. You can try your hand at the pool table, or take a crack at two-up on ANZAC Day. This is by far one of the best pubs in town to toss back a couple of pints for the diggers, or with them, as the place is proudly used as a place of celebration by dozens of vets on April 25 each year.
If American sports are your jam, these guys throw a righteous Super Bowl party every year, and if you’re lucky enough to be a regular, they’ll even let you in a half hour before opening to watch the NCAA college basketball finals. It’s one of the many examples of how publicans Jess McGrath, Mark Pratt and Billy the Pub Dog go above and beyond to make this one of the friendliest pubs in town. Your kids, your dogs and your odd taste in sports will always be welcome here; the gates of this palace are always wide open.