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Melbourne is #blessed with more excellent pubs that you can lob a parma at, and one night a year we get to give them the recognition they so richly deserve by handing out Pub Awards to the best of the best.
In spite of the fog and cold over 300 of you, dressed in your finest Melbourne black packed out the Forester’s Pub and Dining for a night of banter, tunes by Mighty Duke and the Lords, beers by Yenda Beer, something fruitier from Hills Cider company, and a little cheeky Monday night vino from James Estate Wine.
Our host for the evening is someone who knows the pub game inside out, and that’s Mrs Smith, the trivia queen, who took care of the official proceedings. In between drinks there were rabbit pie, pizzas, lamb cigars, veggie spring rolls and polenta chips to be demolished; beer, dining vouchers and merch prizes to be won on the spinning wheel; and hazy memories to immortalise thanks to fotobox. And that sweet smell in the air? That was care of Verona Flowers.
And all guests went home with a brand spanking new copy of our Pubs Issue of Time Out Melbourne.
But it was the winners who took home the glory. Our Pub of the Year winner for 2017 was the Lincoln in Carlton. These guys set the new standard that Melbourne pubs should strive for, melding the old ways and the new to create a harmonious environment where the great Aussie past times of beer, banter and footy sit side by side with high quality dining that doesn't take itself too seriously.
The Woodlands Hotel took out the top gong for Best Pub Food – they do one of the best pub curries in town and like to mix up what’s on offer so that dinner in Coburg is always an international adventure with a seriously local drinks list.
Our Publicans of the Year are none other than the famed Palace Hotel crew: Jessica McGrath, Mark Pratt and Billy the Pub Dog, while the Pub Revival Award went to the schmick new Flinders Lane haunt, the Garden State Hotel.
When it comes to inclusive entertainment, no one beats the Gasometer Hotel, so we gave them the Best Entertainment Award, and the Best Sports Pub went to the Mt View Hotel, the only place you want to be watching the game if you’re not actually at the ‘G’.
This year we let our readers pick not only the People’s Choice: Pub, which went to the beloved Local Taphouse, but we added a category for People’s Choice: Regional Pub, and that award went to the Wandi Pub out at the foot of the mountains.
Finally, Time Out’s Legend Award, reserved for a pub that has indelibly shaped Melbourne’s drinking culture, was awarded to a pub that sparked a full scale protest when they tried to close the doors. The Tote is our 2017 Legend Award winner and never has a pub earned the title more.