XXXX pots and $5 counter meals at the West End Hotel in Townsville. I should have been studying but who can turn down a couple of cleansing ales and a meal all for $10. I spent a lot of time in traditional Aussie pubs in those days. The counter would be studded with old timers in King-Gee shorts, drinking ponies and watching sport on the overhead TV.
Because of my misspent Uni years, I’m not intimidated by going into an old pub. I’ve spent plenty of time in them since, playing pool and listening to bands. But over the years live music and cheap eats have increasingly been replaced with pokies and play areas. Some pubs have kept pace with the changing times and offer great meals or an alternative space for alternatives. More and more higher end bars have emerged – craft beers, cocktails and gourmet pizza. The distance between the traditional pub and the demographic out and about for a drink has never seemed further apart.
In Room for a Pony’s new bar on Friday night I pondered whether the great Aussie pub has lost its relevance. Does a casual place to drink and socialise still exist?
The boys from Room for a Pony have proved themselves with their popular café. It’s tremendously successful with young people but it speaks to a wider age group too. The breakfast menu is new wave – it’s less hollandaise, and more cultural and modern influences. They have outdoor space and morning sun.
The bar has been in the pipeline since the early days. A few weeks ago, when I asked co-owner Drew what the bar’s agenda would be he replied, ‘Having fun and getting drunk.’ It’s good to keep things simple.
On first blush, the bar around the back looks like it will enjoy similar success to the cafe. It has restaurant style seating and open space including an outdoor area facing the street.
Prices are what you’ve probably come to expect – $10 pints and a $11 Tassie reserve Chardonnay. On opening night there were canapes like vegetarian pakoras, pork potstickers and salmon and avocado or mushroom and hummus bruschetta; similar to their food menu which is designed for snacking and sharing – stomach liners while you have a drink. I’m looking forward to three types of steamed buns for $12.50 per plate – fried chicken and buttermilk mayo, pickled eggplant and yoghurt and salt and pepper squid with hot sauce.
Its modest size, open space and casual approach is bound to attract a lot of people who like to go for a drink and might not normally go into pub and are not keen on the Salamanca scene.
It’s a new generation of drinking and it’s growing North Hobart.
They’re open seven days from 2 pm until midnight.
You’ll find them at 338 Elizabeth Street Hobart.
Here’s our post on Room for a Pony.
It’s also nice to have a drink at Winning Bros.
We also spend time at a pub for alternos, The Winston.