Food and Drink
Posted by G. Raymond Leavold
10. Aug, 2011
The moment you set foot in the newly re-opened Royal Park Hotel on Queensbury Street in North Melbourne, you feel like you’re in a real pub. That seems like a vague and contradictory statement, as it is a pub and, by definition, a pub must be a real pub, unless it is in fact a fake pub. You follow me? Anyway, what I’m getting at is that there is a genuine feeling to The Royal Park that other pubs seem to have lost, or never really had to begin with.
There is a warmth to the place, and not just from the open-fire that they have continually burning. The ambiance, the low-lighting, the quiet stillness (even on a Saturday night when it is at its most patronised) is both calming and charming. It’s the type of pub in which you don’t mind sitting at the bar shooting the shit with the bartender, which isn’t a claim that many pubs in and around Melbourne can make these days. Now, onto a more concrete reason why I like this place:
Considering the asking price for a jug these days can be up to $17-18, you really won’t find this kind of price anywhere else, and it isn’t subject to change. This is not a happy hour rate, $10 jugs are poured all year round. The beer of choice is Bearings, a Geelong draft that is nothing like its cheap, lesser brother Geelong Bitter, and is comparable to a Carlton Draft or Melbourne Bitter.
It must be said that The Royal Park doesn’t contained the entire pub package, and isn’t necessarily the type of pub that you should feel compelled to dine at. It’s just a great place to hang out and sink some beers at. Sure, it has a bistro, the meals are well-prepared and the dining room has a certain charm with its basic seating, hanging plants and tapestries on the walls, but unlike the beer, the meals are overly expensive and there isn’t a great range on the menu. I will also never forgive The Royal for abruptly and perplexingly taking the ‘spaghetti and meatballs in a cob-loaf’ off the menu, replacing it with ‘mussels in a cob-loaf’, which is nowhere near as alluring as it is weird. One of the plusses of dining at The Royal though is that each meal is finished off with a complimentary chocolate truffle and glass of port, which is actually a really classy touch.
Also sporting a pool table and dart board—along with other table-based games like Connect Four—The Royal has all of this and cheap beer. What I’m trying to say is: The Royal Park deserves your patronage, and you deserve cheap beer. Think about it. You know I’m right.
The Royal Park Hotel
405 Queensbury Street
Sun – Thurs 4pm – late
Fri – Sat 4pm – 1am