Napier Hotel, FitzroyTweet Follow @MyAchingHead
As is so often the case of Melbourne watering-holes, the Napier Hotel is tucked away on a side street off Brunswick St in Fitzroy. Built in the 19th century in the same grand old style of most Melbourne hotels, the pub has the curious feeling that not too much has changed since the day it was built. Sure, they’ve fixed the ceiling and mopped the floors, the memorabilia on the walls is as up to date as a Benson & Hedges series poster can be and the beers on tap certainly weren’t around then but it wouldn’t surprise me if the pub is still painted in the same colours (it has recently had a new lick of paint.) The bar itself probably hasn’t changed much and the same barflies have been there since the mid 1960s.
This very feeling makes the Napier the perfect local. Friendly faces, cheap meals and comfortable surrounds make dropping in for a quiet pint or to watch the footy all too easy. Footy in Melbourne isn’t just something to watch, it is religion and at the Napier, in the heart of Fitzroy, things are no different. The walls are covered with Fitzroy and Brisbane Lions guernseys, premiership posters and team photos and when the Lions are playing, the very same barflies will tell you stories about how Paul Roos and Bernie Quinlan used to come in and drink 3 pints before the game every Saturday. Believing them is another story.
The menu is standard pub fare, with a difference. The ubiquitous chicken parmagiana makes an appearance with the option of house-smoked kangaroo rather than ham, calling it the best Parma in Melbourne would be ridiculous (as it always is), the roo-meat is a great touch and well worth trying. The Bogan Burger is a massive hamburger with the works including a potato scallop but it doesn’t live up to the high expectations set by all the rave reviews. There is also a more restaurant/cafe style menu mostly comprising of different styles of salad, with lamb, squid or cajun chicken. Across all of these meals one thing jumps out at you, and that is value for money. The size is astounding, the quality uncompromising and the price cheap, considering.
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