A specials menu that changes daily. Live music and a trivia night each week. Monthly tap takeovers with the best in the craft beer scene — include a month with Wayward and Nomad. Rocks Brewing Co has transformed the old Lord Raglan Hotel into a local favourite with a serious fun side.
Many of the changes we spoke to Johnathan Hepner about back in October 2014 have come to fruition. Of course, the Bottle Shop is still stocked with all things craft, from common to crazy. For the real enthusiasts, join the Bottle Club — you'll get a list of beers to try each month, with a free, special edition brew for you speedy drinkers out there.
Now, the pub is much more than a haven for craft beer lovers. The menu, re-envisioned by a native New Yorker, marries classic American pub food with posh, lighter fare. Not many hotels serve sesame crusted tuna steak ($20) over a chilli lime vinaigrette salad. The tuna is delicate yet meaty with a fine crust and perfectly pink centre. The crunchy cabbage and herb salad packs a serious coriander punch.
As far as classic pub food goes, the menu presents a nice mix of Aussie and American favourites: chicken schnitzel sits next to Philly cheese steak ($16 each) and a Latin Lover ($18). An American favourite, this panini pressed Cuban sandwich is layered with slow-roasted pork shoulder, thinly sliced leg ham and heaps of melted Swiss cheese. It's the house-made pickles and roasted garlic-Dijon aioli that makes the dish. All plates are served in pub portions and the nearby sauce station has both Frank's RedHot and sriracha. You really can't ask for much more.
But wait, there's more. Lord Raglan may be craft-centric, but they're also doing monthly house infusions that they plan to make crazier by the month. When we visit, there's a Cucumber Martini ($12) or Habanero Margarita ($18), made from a local's home-made stuff. Since they are beer fanatics, the menu naturally includes beer cocktails, most recently the Holey Berry ($15), a collaboration with the Shenanigans duo which uses the last existing keg of Holey Porter ($9.5 schooner).
If that isn't enough, there's much more on the horizon for this jack of all trades. Pinball tournaments will accompany their four new machines, jalapenos stuffed with peanut butter will hit the menu, and zanier beers are in the pipeline. This is one of the few pubs that tries to do it all and actually does it all well.