The Stag

date of visit:  Monday 2 Nov 2009

We’ve been drinking visitors at the Stag on previous occasions – sucked in by the imperial pints and spacious, generally calm atmosphere we can put up with the slightly steep prices.  On the food front the Stag sells itself as “serious about meat” with a menu covering pub staples (burgers and parmis) as well as some serious steak.  If you’re looking for a pub in Adelaide that sells Wagyu … head to the Stag.  300g of prime Wagyu Porterhouse will set you back $50.

It was a rare occasion when we were on a schedule which wasn’t helped by the fact I was starving.  We arrived at the Stag just after 5 to discover the kitchen doesn’t open until 6.  The affable barmaid said she could sort us some chips but that would be it until 6pm.  Plans thrown in to disarray, we opted to have a cheeky schooner while re-grouping.

We decided to sit it out until 6 … This gave Andy enough time to join the Stag’s club.  The club is free to join and gives you $1 discounts on beers, $5 discount on steaks and $10 discount on the Stag’s food and wine events.

All of this gave us ample time to inspect the menu and when 6pm rolled around we ordered straight away.  We ordered two chicken parmigianas and a side of bug tails and before long huge plates of food arrived in front of us.  Like most things at the Stag the parmis aren’t cheap, at $18.50 each, but the menu does claim it’s free range chicken and the serves are generous.  Given the size of the schnitzels I was surprised by how small the portion of bug tails seemed:  3 tails, pan fried in white wine and lemon juice for $10.90.

We powered through our meal:  I was famished.  Andy felt that they were a little generous on the sauce topping and I thought someone had been heavy handed with the oregano but neither of these niggles was enough to slow us down.  They also mean I’m not going to claim these are the greatest schnitzels in Adelaide!

The thing that really stood out at the Stag was the friendly, polite service from absolutely every member of staff we dealt with.  The friendly barmaid, the barman who discounted our cashew nuts because Andy was a member, the waiter who gently steered us out of  the restaurant and back in to the bar … it actually seems as though the staff enjoy their jobs and want people to enjoy the pub.

And that makes me more than happy to pay a premium for a beer.

contact:  The Stag Hotel, 299 Rundle Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000, phone: 08 8223 2934

Super friendly pub

Rating:3.5 stars

Hotel Tivoli

Date of visit:  Friday 12 June 2009

By the time we tried to book for dinner at the Tiv Friday night was all full up.  No matter, in the long run, because we ended up eating at the excellent Farina.  That didn’t stop us heading there for a recce in the guise of a pre-dinner drink.

I remember the Tivoli as being a somewhat grotty live music establishment (and bikie hangout – so I’d never actually been) so I was interested to see what its recent refurb and transformation into a ‘gastropub’ had done for it.

We entered the bar just before 6 and it was already extremely busy.  Bar service itself was swift, although battering your way through the crowd took a little time and commitment.  The beer selection is standard (Coopers) although Asahi is also available on tap.  There are happy hour specials during the week as well as a Credit-Crunch Lunch.

The bar is decorated in a fairly generic modern pub manner, and while there are comfortable lounges (with tables) along the walls, seating is a little limited.  We were lucky enough to grab a table – but the lack of seats didn’t seem to bother most customers and there was definitely a lively (and noisy) feel to the place.  On a Friday it seems mostly frequented by office workers in their dress-down Friday gear.

The restaurant is hidden out the back – it’s not completely secluded from the bar and certainly some of the noise carries through.  The menu looks interesting enough for us to sneak back for a meal at a later (and almost certainly mid-week) date.

There wasn’t really anything that made the bar of the Tivoli stand out:  I certainly wouldn’t head here for an intimate tête à tête, but for a larger group or for a swift post work drink, it does the job.

Contact:  The Tivoli, 265 Pirie Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000, phone:  (08) 8223 4790.

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