The Toxteth Hotel, lovingly referred to as 'The Tocky' by locals, has been a Glebe staple for decades and continues to attract an unusually eclectic crowd of Carlton-drinking, Akubra-donning patrons sitting next to ironically moustached students wearing tight pants and sipping a schooner of Young Henrys. While this crowd combo wouldn't work in most places, it's a mix that The Tocky has become known for.
This old-school Aussie/new-school hipster scene is in part due to the Lo-Fi and The Standard revamp back in 2012, when they transformed the beer garden into a inner west pub dream. The greenhouse-like space is centred around an open bar and is frequented by yuppies and students who love an outdoor schooner and schnitty. The Pimm's Garden Bar is serving up pints of craft along with overly-garnished cocktails, like the Bloody Mary that uses a salt rim made of Grizzly's Jerky. The Tocky is far from a craft beer bar, but they are hosting Crafty Wednsdays with Wayward, Batch and Young Henrys on tap.
But the real draw for all patrons is the ace pub food that has continued to stay on-point throughout the years. It's not your average specials offering though, as weekly dishes have been known to include lamb brains. The prawn cakes ($21) deserve a regular spot on the menu; a fresh mixture of dill and capers and a crisp fennel and rocket salad goes well with the Marie Rose bisque.
The 'pickled things' ($9) — which include a pickled egg — is a nod to the pub's British origins, while the southern fried chicken ($13) draws on American influences. Both are worth a taste. If you're looking for classic pub grub, The Tocky Burger ($18) is just that — it's a super satisfying combo of streaky bacon and gooey cheddar cheese, topped with a special Thousand Island sauce.
While pubs aren't known as dessert joints, don't make the rookie mistake of not saving room in your belly for sweet stuff. The weekly special is usually top notch, but the vanilla and lemon cheesecake is unreal ($12). Served with blueberry compote and vanilla ice cream, this is the perfect, decadent end to any pub meal.
Not looking for anything fancy? Well, with $14 meals Monday to Friday — including a chargrilled beef rump — you can still come to The Toxteth for that reliable bang-for-your-buck pub grub too.
Images: Marissa Ciampi.