The Old Pub (The Old Boolarra Pub as it’s alternatively known) in Boolarra has had a chequered history since it was first established in 1884. Apparently it was called The Selectors Arms originally, thought to have become a boarding house in 1916 and then named the Old Boolarra Pub some time later. When we first came to Mirboo North, we visited Boolarra not that long after and went to visit the Old Pub, but unfortunately it was closed. It was (is) a private residence and was re-opened as a cafe and B&B and, I understand, in 2014 it re-acquired it’s liquor license and is now a licensed coffee house and eatery. The Old Pub is a fine example of an old bluestone and timber building of the era, which carries that bluestone character to the interior of the pub. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discover very much more about the history of the pub itself.
The interior offers a cosy area surrounding the bar, which then extends into another room next door that opens into a beer garden sheltered between two wings of the building. It was tempting to go outside, as it was an outstanding sunny Winter’s day, but my wife preferred the table next to the warming wood fire (always). We arrived not long after 11:00 am and there were already guests both inside and out. I suppose this shouldn’t have been all that surprising given the wonderful weather this morning. The staff were welcoming and friendly, though it did take a bit of coercing to get at least one of the staff in the photograph, as empty bars don’t make for a good look.
We were here for a light lunch and, while still early, there were no restrictions on what could be ordered. The menu itself had quite a range on offer, from breakfast meals to more elaborate courses. I chose a slow cooked, pulled pork baguette and my wife a lemon-crumbed chicken schnitzel wrap with chips. The beer battered chips are worthy of a note on their own, very nice indeed. I accompanied my baguette with a Dirty Granny Cider while my wife had a sparkling wine. The meals were excellent and the pulled pork had a marvellous American style coleslaw with smoky BBQ and coriander sauce, which provided great flavour and bite (and I’m one that doesn’t really like coleslaw). The Old Pub is definitely worth visiting if passing through, or just go there as an end destination as part of a pleasant drive and lunch. Update: As pointed out by Rob below in the comments, the Old Pub is no longer trading, which is a shame.
The Poowong Hotel in Poowong Victoria has been around in one form or another since the turn of the last century ie the 1900s, was apparently relocated to its current site from another nearby location, but tragedy struck in Nov 1997 when the hotel burned down. However, clearly after a great deal of effort, the hotel opened again in May 1998. I’d been wanting visit this pub for some time, but for whatever reason, there was always something that came in the way. So this weekend we made a special effort and took a very scenic drive from Mirboo North to Poowong along the Leongatha North and Fairbank Roads to Ranceby and then Poowong. The drive itself was worth the outing.
The Poowong Hotel is actually larger than what I’d surmised from photos on the internet and turned out to be quite a homely style pub. My impression from the internet was that this was quite a small hotel, but it instead offers quite a lot of room, having a bar at the front and then a much larger dining area behind, as well as a small beer garden and a nook near the front for just relaxing. On our visit this Sunday, a car rally was happening in the area and the Poowong Hotel was a designated stop for searching out clues – an old-fashioned style of Pokemon Go – though who knows, maybe Pokemon was part of the rally. The Poowong Hotel is also a regular stopover for a number of classic car clubs and the like.
We were originally planning just lunch for two, but then gave my brother-in-law (who lives in nearby Nyora) a call and it became a lunch for four. The menu is quite extensive and I chose a chicken surf & turf, while my wife chose calamari with garlic and lime aioli, and both of us tried some Bulmers cider (a pint for him and a pot for her). My brother-in-law and his wife both chose the honey prawns, and had some champagne and draught beer. I think the fact that every plate was left utterly clean, apart from a few prawn tails, is an indication that the meals were very good. This was another of those pub meals that doesn’t try to be overly fancy, but offers great wholesome, full flavoured, food and in sufficient quality to ensure that you aren’t looking in the fridge a few hours later.