MELBOURNE | The Royal Hotel is a Clifton Hill gem that has been operating since 1890, offering locals and visitors alike a welcoming experience along with quality drinks and food. The building is an attractive three storey structure built in the Italianate style which was popular in the late 1800s. Step inside, and refreshingly much of the original interior remains. There’s a large wooden bar, sandblasted walls, tiled floors, and a few pool tables. Other parts of the bar include a small private room, a kind of lounge room with couches, and the main dining room. It’s full of character, with not a pokie machine or TAB counter to be seen.
While the venue might exclude a certain old-world charm, the drinks list has very much kept up with the times. The Royal Hotel offers a nice selection of local and imported beers, wines, cocktails and premium spirits. We originally visited as we’d heard that the beer selection was a cut above that of similar “old school” pubs and when we arrived we weren’t disappointed. Across the taps and bottles are 50 local and more than 30 international choices, including beers from favourites like Murray’s, 4 Pines, Nail, Boatrocker and Cavalier.
The food here is very much elevated pub food cooked with local, fresh ingredients. The more casual bar menu gives way to a wider, more refined selection in the dining room. Think things like meatballs, croquettes, a parma and burger at the bar and rabbit galantine, rolled pork belly, and ora king salmon in the dining room.
Service is friendly and welcoming, as is the atmosphere. A proper old pub that gets all of the important things right.
The Royal Hotel
41 Spensley Street
Mon – Tue: 3:00pm to 11:00pm
Wed – Thu: 3:00pm to 12:00am
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Sun: 12:00pm to 11:00am