Vic on the Park
In my ever-widening search for a pub with something different, I’m forced to admit I might have misjudged the humble slider. This fast-paced yellow kitchen - clearly delineated with a suitably hipster font - produces four winning Sliders ($20/4) from a repertoire of six.
Ribs & Burgers
Confession time: I find butchers, butchers’ aprons, Berkel meat slicers and sharp knives rather exciting. However it was still disconcerting to find out my dining companion had a Hungarian butcher doppelganger - a brother-from-another-mother - whose image loomed over our table.
Royal Hotel Randwick
This stately two-storey heritage listed hotel looks like a country pub. Built in 1887, it’s wrapped by wide verandahs. The downstairs one is the perfect place to sink a ten-buck Frozen Margarita ($10) on a sunny day, watching the people of Randwick pass by.
Queens Park Shed
New is out, converted is in. A disused sports shed in Centennial Park is the latest ‘found café’ to emerge in the fields of Queens Park. The space is modern and airy, while maintaining the integrity of its past through rustic finishes, quirky light fittings, and a gorgeous water station that employs the original pipes.
The Ivanhoe Hotel
With alcohol-fuelled violence plaguing Manly, this pub took a clever way out. It started with a total renovation by Paul Kelly, the man responsible for The Bourbon and The Oaks. The resulting airy, modern hotel has a whitewashed and gently weathered Hamptons feel, with multiple spaces to enjoy, including The Pines, a nautical level fitted out by another big name - Sibella Court.
Joining the fast food line-up on George Street is a little stealth vegetarianism, crossing over from south of the border. Lord of the Fries (who have eight Melbourne-based stores) dish up hand cut fries, special sauces (my pick is the Canadian poutine) and burgers with LOTF patties rather than meat.