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Salisbury Hotel Stanmore: The Pub That Keeps On Truckin'

This pub and I have been on the same path for years. I used to frequent it when it was a run-down, beer stained locals' joint as a uni student. Back then there was a shed out the back where people would leave their kids on a Friday night to run riot and draw on the walls. I used to sit on my high horse thinking, " I would never leave my kids in there so I could go drinking." Of course now with hindsight, I think how quick we are to judge when we are childless. These days I'd leave my kids with the Manson family if it meant enjoying a parma in peace (I'm kidding... kind of).

Anyway, like me, the Salisbury Hotel has come of age, and now offers something that is family friendly with a non-judgey vibe. A pub you'd never feel guilty about bringing your kids to. Why? Because kids love this place too. It does something that not many pubs can do - cater to both the parents and the kids without selling one party short. 

Why It Delivers The Goods

Well, you can't deny the sheer brilliance of the piece de resistance in the beer garden. The 1926 Dennis brewery truck owners Trish Larkin and Ged Dore found on Gumtree has been restored and turned into a communal table. Your kids are going to love climbing into this, and let's face it, you're going to love taking pics of them in it underneath the beautiful Chinese elm tree. Check out the tagged photos of this place on Instagram - it's 99% of the big red truck. 

While the kids are happily playing, the grown-ups can enjoy one of the many local craft beers on tap like Young Henry's and 4 Pines.

On the menu you'll find the regular pub classics, think Schnitties, Beef and Guinness Pies, Steak Sandwiches and Burgers, but there's also a whole lot of sophisticated stuff that'll really elevate your pub experience - for instance the Baby Back Pork Ribs ($28) with chilli plum glaze, apple and fennel salad and roasted spuds. Or the Maple Miso Salmon ($27) with Asian slaw. 

Kids On Board

For kids the menu is simple - read - effective. As Trish (a mum of 2 boys) explains, they set out to give the kids what they want so parents can relax and enjoy their meal too. You'll find the staples of cheese pizza, pasta, fish and chips and cheeseburgers there to delight kids from toddler to school age. Or if they're really adventurous, Trish recommends ordering from the share plate menu for a small but taste-explosive option. And of course, there's everyone's favourite dessert, ice-cream! 

Just when you couldn't think this place could be more family-friendly I am informed about the nanny service they have on Monday and Friday nights (5pm-8pm). That's right, if the truck isn't enough of a babysitter, there is a qualified carer on these nights to take your kids into the special play area loft for craft, colouring and games. Monday night is a great night to go with the family as the pub does 2-4-1 meals, which is basically cheaper than you could cook for your family at home. Note the place gets super busy on Mondays, basically everyone with kids in Stanmore is here. I hear the childless couples prefer to go Tuesdays for the curry and long neck beer deal ($20) or Wednesdays for the drag bingo! 

Follow their Facebook page to be up to date with all of the kid-friendly events. They just keep thinking of new ways to amuse your kids, for example on Good Friday there will be a petting zoo in the pub! I can't love this pub enough. I can see myself coming here as a grandma, no doubt they'll be doing un-ironic bingo for oldies by then

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist



What do you get when an Irish Publican and Singaporean-Malay Chef tackle the challenge of transforming a historic local hotel into a classic, independently-run Australian pub tailored to the diverse community surrounding it?

You get the Salisbury Hotel in Stanmore — complete with a hearty new menu, open courtyard and nightly offerings. And one week out from opening, it’s already shaping up to be just what locals need to avoid tapping their Opals for a night out in Newtown. 

Wearing a smile as he navigates the construction site of his new kitchen, Chef Ridz is beaming with pride. “I feel like a child on Christmas Eve,” he says — “I helped design this kitchen, it’s a dream come true.”

The new kitchen at Stanmore’s historic Salisbury Hotel is spacious and homely by design, with a small set of windows opening out onto the large new beer garden where a 1926 Dennis brewery truck has been parked. Amid a new wave of culinary-chic hotels in the inner-west, it’s about as unpretentious as they come.  

While his culinary career began in Singapore, Ridz has more than left his stamp on the local food scene since moving here in 2000 — manning the kitchens at Glebe's Le Petit Tarte and The Flying Fajita Sisters, as well as The Henson Park Hotel in Marrickville and The Trinity in Surry Hills.

Discussing the Salisbury’s new seasonal menu, Ridz laughs and insists he’s “not trying to reinvent the wheel. All the classics are there — a big Aussie Brewery Truck burger, schnitzel, Coopers beer-battered fish and chips, beef and guinness pie — we’re just making good, well-seasoned food,” Ridz says. “My goal is for locals to have smiling tummies when they’ve finished eating.”

Publican Trish Larkin’s focus on Stanmore’s community is immediately apparent when stepping into the Salisbury, with framed portraits of locals hanging along the walls with small plaques revealing where they had their first drink. Commenting on the pub’s makeover, one beer-drinking local tells me that “before the renovations, I hadn’t seen a young person here for ten years.”

But that’s all changed now, with a range of new nights inspired by Stanmore’s diverse and colourful community, including two-for-one dinners on Monday, Drag Bingo on Wednesday, and a stellar Salisbury Sunday showcasing a traditional feast and musical lineup of local talent. 

“It’s a meeting place for all, young and old,” Larkin says. “We wanted to build a pub where you’d be happy to take your mam, grandad or children — a great place to meet for a drink and not fall over.” 

Larkin, who was born in the Irish town of Waterford but moved to Australia twenty years ago, is clear about one thing — “it’s possible to modernise a classic. I do think it’s possible to recreate the feeling of an old village pub, especially when the building has been here since 1899. It’s fostering an openness and serving up good quality food, without trying to be something we’re not. That’s what we’ve done here.”

The numerous changes mightn’t take everyone’s immediate fancy, but Trish is confident there’s something for the whole family — and she would know. Having wrangled her partner, Gerard Dore, to help out, the pub has become a bit of a family project. 

“He fancies himself a bit of a pub mechanic,” she laughs — “and the kids helped design our children’s menu.”

“I love Stanmore’s typical village feel, there are all the classic fixtures — a second generation barber, school, church, chemist and fish & chip shop. But there are also some great new businesses like Core Catering, Mule Cafe and Sixpenny.”