Where to find Melbourne’s best no-frills pub meals

Where to find Melbourne’s best no-frills pub meals

Words by Arielle Richards

To quote The Chats: “All I want and all I need, all I crave is a good pub feed”.

We’re calling it, pub grub is the quintessential Aussie meal. No matter where you find yourself in this great southern land, there’s no higher pleasure than a pint and a parma at the local. There will always be a pub on the corner somewhere, with plenty of seats for the family or the whole friend group, fantastic staff with charming personalities, a pool table or two, and a cozy courtyard. What more could you need from a venue?

Straightforward, delicious food, of course.

Your typical pub grub menu has parma options, steak, maybe fish and definitely golden, crispy chips. Us pub lovers are lucky to live down here in Melbourne, famous for its abundance of revered public establishments. But with so many hotspots to choose from, where do you go for the perfect pub meal? It’s a tough choice, but we’ve done the legwork for you and narrowed down the best no-frills pub menus around town. We’re getting hungry already…

The Palace Hotel, South Melbourne

Almost the definition of a no-fuss pub, the Palace Hotel is your typical spot for a weeknight dinner. “Local beers for locals” is their mantra, and they stick true to that sentiment. The unpretentious, relaxed energy of the venue is only complemented by the straightforward menu – they’ve got fish n’ chips, they’ve got parmas, the’ve even got pizza! The dog-friendly courtyard is a great spot to sit back, chill and enjoy the perfect local.


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Find The Palace Hotel at 505-507 City Road, South Melbourne. 

The Commercial Club, Fitzroy

Tucked away on Nicholson Street, the Commercial is your typical low-key neighbourhood pub. The inconspicuous facade masks the incredible food within. With a no-frills menu you can always count on, it’s the kind of spot you’ll find yourself returning to time and time again.

Find The Commercial Club at 344 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy. 

The Cornish Arms, Brunswick

For our plant-based friends, the Cornish Arms offers every menu item you might expect to find at a typical pub and then some. Their extensive vegan menu boasts all your usual items in animal-free form, so if you’ve ever found yourself wishing a plant-based HSP existed, the Cornish has you covered. It’s a great spot for no-fuss dining in a big group, ensuring that everyone will be happy, regardless of their diets.

Find The Cornish Arms Hotel at 163A Sydney Road, Brunswick. 

The Irish Times, CBD

This article may be focusing on the spots offering typical Aussie pub food, but we’ve got to acknowledge its origins, right? There’s pub food, and then there’s classic pub food, and the Irish Times is the place for that. Doused in Guinness-infused sauces, their menu offers you a trip to Ireland on a plate. Enjoy a classic Irish stew, a traditional shepherd’s pie, or maybe just the parma. That’s right, they do classic Aussie too, so you can have your pick. Unfortunately, no Haggis is to be had here, but the Irish Times is nonetheless a great spot for a no-frills meal, whether it be Irish or not.

Find The Irish Times at 427 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. 

The Railway Club Hotel, Port Melbourne

If it’s steak and chips you’re after, the Railway Club does it really, really well. They offer a multitude of choices when it comes to the type, cut and cooking style of the meat, so it’s easy to get it exactly the way you like it. Plus, they offer an extensive range of sauces and butter to accompany said steak. With a lovely bistro atmosphere, this neighbourhood favourite is extremely popular, so make sure you have a booking first.

Find The Railway Club Hotel at 107 Raglan Street, Port Melbourne. 

Union House, Richmond

If you’re after a slight elevation on your typical pub grub fare, Union House does it exceptionally well. House favourites are the Rockling Burger and Chicken Schnitty, but their inventive starters will have you drooling. Do not skip on the Sunday roast, it is excellent. Situated in a heritage-listed old pub in the heart of Richmond, Union has you covered for a snazzy feed in friendly surrounds.

Find Union House at 270 Swan Street, Richmond. 

The Fox Hotel, Collingwood

If there’s one thing The Fox does well it’s yummy, yummy, yummy food. Chill service and nice vibes complete the mood. Nestled in leafy green Collingwood, their little rooftop terrace is the perfect spot to kick back with a couple of pale ales and the bountiful seafood platter – excellent choice, by the way.

Find The Fox Hotel at 351 Wellington Street, Collingwood. 

Town Hall Hotel, North Melbourne

Town Hall offers the epitome of a no-frills pub meal. With great portions, well-priced fare and inventive menu items – including, but never limited to, plenty of vege options – everyone will leave satisfied, every time. A Melbourne icon, this historic pub offers ample seating for larger groups, but make sure you book the dining room for the ultimate pub dinner experience.

Find Town Hall Hotel at 33 Errol Street, North Melbourne. 

Victoria Hotel, Footscray

The Vic! The darling of the west side and an all-round great pub. Let’s talk about the food, shall we? We have the classics, all the steak variations you could ask for – including tartare – classic parma and its vegetarian counterpart, plus a huge range of bistro-style starters. Couple that extensive menu with their friendly staff, community atmosphere and wonderful beverage selection, and you’ve got yourself a local favourite.

Find Victoria Hotel at 43 Victoria Street, Footscray. 

Union Club Hotel, Fitzroy

When we talk about no-frills pub fare, we have to mention the Union Club – a spot which does it all. At Union you will find the most typical pub meals, parmas, schnitties, burgers… you get the picture. As if those meals weren’t incredible on their own, their mains menu expands well past the standard, offering kangaroo steak, salt and pepper calamari, grass-fed black angus steak and grilled barramundi. What more could you need?

Find Union Club Hotel at 164 Gore Street, Fitzroy. 

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