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“A great pre-theatre dinner venue, our favourite pub - reliably good over the years”

Elephant and Wheelbarrow
Ranked #534 of 4,516 Restaurants in Melbourne
Cuisines: British
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
Reviewed 17 August 2017

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this pub before. We always eat here every time we are in Melbourne (which is once or twice a year). Perfectly located on the corner of Bourke St and Exhibition St, it is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the great theatres of Melbourne. Thus it is the perfect venue for pre-theatre dinner and drinks. It is very much like a traditional English pub, dark interiors, cosy and very atmospheric and they have a great range of beers on tap to choose from! Love the London Pride and White Rabbit ales. The meal menu is not bad either, typical British pub grub: bangers and mash, chicken parmies, steaks, burgers, pizzas etc. We always go for the roast of the day ($22, often comes with potatoes and 3 veg) and it never fails to disappoint. It is really nice to know that the quality of the drinks and food has been consistently good over the years and so is the clientele. Whenever we are there, there’s lots of other mature-age theatre goers around, as well as families, none of the rowdy and boisterous folks one associates pubs with. Hint: go upstairs for a more peaceful atmosphere, this is still a pub and it can get a bit crowded around the downstairs bar area.

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Thank geckopoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 - 93 of 465 reviews

Reviewed 11 August 2017

While walking through the CBD, we passed The Elephant & Wheelbarrow, and commented on both the name, and how “neat” the building looked. While I now forget where we were going, or what we were going for, on our walk back, as the rain began, we found ourselves right at the front door. Surely this was a “sign” to go in, and sit out the rain? How could we ignore such, and “from above?” Into the Elephant & Wheelbarrow we went.

Now, I’ve got to be careful how I word this, but The Elephant & Wheelbarrow reminded me of many pubs, that we have visited in the U.K. – OK, it is probably close to the quintessential “Melbourne/Australian pub,” too, but I have much, much more experience with pubs in/around London, Oxford, Cambridge and Bath, so I have to rely on my personal references.

We sat in what I would call the “main dining area,” though slightly away from the windows looking out over Bourke St. Not sure why now, but maybe those were occupied? We were, however, right in front of the bar.

Now, from what I could tell, the bar is the centerpiece, against the Exhibition St side of the room, then there is the main seating area, with some columns scattered about, and a small, slightly raised seating area, along the Bourke St windows. I have a feeling that there might have been other dining areas (upstairs?), or behind us, and around a corner, but did not see those.

We had both the menu and the wines, B-T-G list in front of us quickly, and began with a Stony Peak Chardonnay VIC, an Abel’s Tempest Chardonnay Tasmania and the Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay Eden Valley & Adelaide Hills.

As we had experienced a very large breakfast back at our hotel, the Park Hyatt, we weren’t really up for Lunch (and we were having Dinner early too), but wanted something to share. While much of the menu featured “pub grub,” like Steak & Ale Pie, Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash (a “Full English Breakfast” was available too), there were some less traditional dishes, such as Pumpkin Ravioli and Chicken Schnitzel – interesting menu.

We settled on Potato Wedges w/ cheese, Spring onions and sour cream, from the “Something to Share” section. These were very good, but were served very hot (thermally). My wife, who loves her food, and coffee/tea hot, burned her mouth, by being impatient. That happened again, and with Potato Wedges at another Melbourne pub. I, who likes to wait until temps fall just a bit, was far more fortunate. Still, after a minute, we devoured the Potato Wedges, and enjoyed our Chardonnays. While ordering a second glass of the Hill-Smith Estate, a couple, seated in the little raised window level, approached us. They had been in three other pubs/wine bars, and noticed us drinking all of the Australian wines that we could, and wondered if we were on some sort of “Melbourne Pub Crawl?” No, we were on a D-I-Y “wino tour,” and just getting recs from bartenders, our Concierge, and really anyone, who had suggestions. So far, we had been doing quite well, plus also just looking around and noting “Hey, that looks neat,” just as had happened with the Elephant & Wheelbarrow. They had done an organized “pub crawl,” and added the Lion Hotel at the “Shot Tower,” to our list. We added City Wine to theirs. After a few toasts, and conversation, we headed to their suggested pub, and they to our suggested wine shop – and the rain had stopped. Our server also added two more suggestions for our list – such friendly and helpful people.

Very nice pub, looking just as a pub should, with some Australian wines on their short list (I detected more focus on brews, based on the taps at the bar, but that was not a surprise), and something from the kitchen to share - Lovely!, and also dry...

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1  Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2017 via mobile

We liked the decor and atmosphere, the food was good pub food and they had a musician playing. When our party of 17 were up dancing the table was cleared of drinks. Our coats and bags were still there so obviously we were still there. There were glasses of drink and a half full bottle of expensive wine. All the drinks were overpriced. Staff were most unhelpful bordering on rude and refused to do anything about it. Very poor customer service especially after all the money we had spent through the evening.

1  Thank ptj6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2017 via mobile

We were just a little bit too late for food, but that's ok. We stayed for a drink and and a dance. Great atmosphere and lovely staff, really enjoyable night all round!

Thank hano20014500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2017 via mobile

Met up with friends at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow for a few Friday night drinks. There was a good range of beers & plenty of spots to sit & chat. After a while we decided to check the menu & ended up having a very tasty pizza an steak. Great spot for a casual evening & good pub food

Thank Andrea M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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