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Blogger's Choice: Vintage Pubs

23 August 2018

By Alf Bock

Drop into a heritage pub for a warming pub lunch. There are some beauties to choose from in historic Guildford, each offering something a little different.

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The oldest pub in WA (and the third oldest licenced hotel in Australia) the Rose and Crown in the heart of the heritage precinct in Swan Street has the most charming beer garden in the State. The Posh Convict bar, and the underground Cellar Bar, which reveals, down steep steps, an old well that was used to draw water in colonial days. The renovated Stables bar is another great spot to enjoy the atmosphere.

And the food? All the pub classics – burgers, fish and chips, pork belly, steaks, chicken parmi, and more including wood fired pizza on weekends. We can recommend the steak and Guinness pie for a hearty winter’s feed.

The iconic Guildford Hotel on James Street is another that attracts a crowd. Almost destroyed by fire it has undergone a remarkable transformation. It's a fabulous renovation – blending old with new – previously covered fireplaces and parts of the fire damaged floor boards restored as centrepieces, terrazzo tiling, a beer garden with three large smokers turning out meaty delights, retractable roof for fine weather, upstairs bar with balcony seating, chesterfields around open wood fires and, topping it all off, the silvery-grey shimmering belvedere signalling the old place is back, better than ever.

The food on offer is designed to share, but with a few larger dishes and burgers, and of course the smoked and barbequed meat – brisket, sticky pork and lamb ribs available from the smokers. And a recommendation? You just have to have the cheeseburger spring rolls!

The Woodbridge – affectionately known as the Woody – is the closest you will get to a country pub in the City. In a Federation building housing an eclectic collection of advertising hoardings on the walls, this place has a great family atmosphere.

There are hearty, generously sized meals – steak sandwiches, curry of the day, bangers and mash, garlic prawns and our recommendation the Lamb Shank pie. Regular live music adds to the appeal.

And finally, the Stirling Arms in James Street. Currently undergoing a major renovation it is still operating with the bar and pool table all pushed into the dining room. The courtyard out front is a pleasant place to sit when the sun is out, protected by a high wall from the traffic noise and umbrellas for shade with a covered area to one side in case of inclement weather.

It has an impressive wine list and a menu covering the classics – beer battered fish and chips, sirloin steak or rosemary beef brisket – while the chef here has added a spicy dimension to some of the dishes. Try the Calypso ribs with a ginger, chilli and lime marinade or the Balls of Fire - these spicy beef and pork meatballs are a standout.

Winter in the Valley? You can’t go past these classic pubs.