The three pillars of any Time Out party are top-notch drinks, plenty of great grub and (almost) too many good times to handle – and the third annual Time Out Pub Awards was no exception.
On a Monday night in May, more than 300 pub-lovers and industry heavyweights rocked up to Beer DeLuxe to find out who would take out the highest accolades in the pub biz – from Best Beer List to Pub of the Year and everything in between.
With booze from Yenda, Bacardi Fuego, Pressman's and Gentleman’s Collection in one hand and food by Beer DeLuxe in the other, guests were treated to the comic stylings of our host for the evening, Melbourne comedian Bev Killick. Calypso tunes by Mighty Duke and the Lords soon got the dance floor pumping, and before long, guests were taking happy snaps with Fotobox and challenging each other to games of iDarts.
The room exploded when The Palace Hotel, South Melbourne was crowned Melbourne’s best pub.
“The Palace ticks every box – craft beer, sports, welcoming atmosphere, and the best Buffalo wings in Melbourne,” said Fred Siggins, Time Out Melbourne’s pubs editor.
“It’s just an impossible pub to fault. They even have a friendly pooch.”
In a big night for the Palace, the venue also took out the award for Best Sports Pub, while its trio of friendly owners Jessica McGrath, Mark Pratt and Billy the Pub Dog were runners-up in the Publican of the Year award.
The winners of that award were Kieran Yewdall and Michael Shaughnessy, publicans of The Catfish in Fitzroy, in a repeat of their victory in the same category last year.
Collingwood’s Bendigo Hotel, a centre of Melbourne’s hard rock community, was the surprise winner of the award for Best Live Music Pub.
A classic pub steakhouse that has barely changed since the 1980s, and yet offers some of the best steaks around, the Railway Club Hotel in Port Melbourne received the Old School Pub Award.
Best Beer List was a hotly contested category but the Local Taphouse in St Kilda emerged victorious for the diversity of its offering on tap.
The People’s Choice award, nominated and voted on by Time Out readers, went to another St Kilda venue, the Grosvenor.
Finally, Time Out’s Legend Award, reserved for a pub that has indelibly shaped Melbourne’s drinking culture, was awarded to the Retreat, Brunswick, for its longstanding commitment to live music and being a welcoming place to all comers.
Guests walked away with hangover cure tablets by Hydrodol and a copy of the Time Out Melbourne Pub Guide 2016 – your definitive guide to the best 100 pubs in Melbourne. The guide is on sale at all good newsagents for $4.95 from Thursday May 19.