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Adelaide: City of Pubs
by Andrea Frost
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 5.2

CITY OF PUBS

As a city, Adelaide is a sigh of relief. It's a city that you feel comfortable in, where you can wear comfy shoes without feeling daggy. A city that, like any other, values the best things in life but can't be bothered with the wank and pretentiousness that goes with it. It feels a little bit "country." Like a man's town, where a hard day's work is honored and all men wear boots. It's a city that knows all too well what good food and the best wine in Australia is.

And it's a city that seems sure of itself in that annoying, content kinda way. Sure it ain't open 24-7, you can see one end from the other and it does feel at times like a big country town, but it's also super cozy, friendly and a place that's just having a grand old time.

If what you're after is great food, exceptional wine, a noisy night out without the gloss, then you, my friend, will go off like a frog in a sock in Adelaide, the city of pubs.

Whether you hang out with the kool kats in Rundle Street, the smart set of O'Connell Street or the grungier set in Hindley Street, amid the boutiques of King William Street or set yourself up with that day-at-the-beach feel of Henley Square, Adelaide has a playground to suit most.

PUBS

The place is riddled with them -- grand old pubs that've been refurbished into comfortable, stylish places to whet your whistle and your appetite. Ask where to go for a beer and you'll be hammered with literally dozens of names, all good, most with food, usually old and most oozing with Coopers and charm.

Grace Emily 232 Waymouth Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8231 5500 As much museum as it is pub, this place is littered with retro trash and treasure. Elvis, pop and soda kinda stuff. When people talk of it they always say endearingly, "Oh yeah, you gotta go there." And yes, you do. Full of beer, charm, live acts and something to look at even when it's empty, it's definitely worth a fly by. Look for the sign on the side of the pub that looks like the Lucky Strike packet.

General Havelock 162 Hutt Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8223 3680 As a pub, it's a sure thing; it's your local hangout, your regular, the place that's consistent and attracts a good crowd. It has a front bar, saloon bar, an upstairs function room and a dining room. The big nights are Thursday through Sunday. Young or younger, this place is most popular on Saturday night. The line starts around 10, so wear comfy shoes or get there early.

Edinburgh Hotal 7 High Street, Mitchim 5062 (08) 8373 2700 Tucked away in Mitchim village, which they say is "out a bit," it's really only 15 minutes from the heart of the city. It has an awesome beer garden, a great spread of pub food -- which would be reason enough to go there were it not for the wine cellar that's as big as a bunker -- 20 wines offered by the glass and three different bars that cater to just about any kind of unwind you're after. Whether it's a game of pool and a pint, a quiet moody wine or an outdoors drinking experience, you'll be well-sorted at the Edinburgh.

British 58 Finniss Street, North Adelaide 5006 (08) 8267 2188 The British is a small cozy pub tucked away in suburbia but still within spitting distance of the CBD. It holds one of the first hotel licenses, issued way back in 1837. Apart from its intimacy, one of the biggest drawcards of the pub is the BBQ in the middle of the outdoor eating area. You can purchase a slab of meat from a wide range of beef, chicken and kangaroo fillets, whack it on the barby and enjoy a beer and a chat while your dinner cooks just the way you like it. There's also a decent wine and beer selection and, being a Coopers-sponsored pub, there's the full quiver of Coopers beers on tap. Hey, when in Rome... It's the place you go to catch up rather than just to go out.

Austral 205 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8223 4660 More than a pub, it's an institution, and a restaurant, and a place to stay. One of Adelaide's favorite pubs, the Austral is situated right in the guts of Rundle Street, providing a constant source of live entertainment. There're also the official acts that play live six nights a week. It pulls the younger crowd, which is probably hoping to do the same thing. There's also a restaurant that serves a decent spread and even an open fire to warm the cockles on a cold winters night.

The Oyster Bar 14 East Terrace, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8232 5422 I know there's some Irish thing about stout and oysters, but to have a whole bar in their honor? The Oyster bar sells itself as a rather odd combo of beer and oysters that all make sense after a few beers and a little time inside the joint. Although you can just stick to alcohol and beer nuts, I guarantee that the minute plates of salty, tasty Oysters Kilpatrick glide past you, you'll be converted. Situated at the cool end of Rundle Street, the Oyster Bar pumps for the weekends where beer, skittles and oysters are the way of life.

Exetor 246 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8223 2623 Due to location, reputation and institution status, the Exetor attracts a mixed bag. Another that's located in the pumping end of Rundle Street, this place offers the lot: live bands (Thursday and Saturday) and DJs (Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday). The restaurant serves meals most nights, lunches every day and a special curry night on the balcony Wednesdays and Thursdays. At the very least, drop in for a glass of wine from the excellent list that has everything "from cheap to Grange."

RESTAURANTS

If great food is supposed to accompany great wine, then you know you're in for a treat at Adelaide's restaurants. There's scope for most tastes, budgets and appetites. Here are a few:

Universal Wine Bar 285 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8232 5000 A lively atmosphere oozes from this place. It serves the city as both wine bar and restaurant, attracting everyone from hardcore wine enthusiasts to suits who've heard of its reputation. But this mix only makes it just as entertaining as it is enjoyable and gastronomically satisfying. Fly by for a quick glass of plonk, to be enjoyed on the sidewalk as the Rundle Street show parades past. Or stretch out at a table for the night and consume all three courses right up to the rich, gooey chocolates served with a sticky and a short black.

Oxford 101 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide 5006 (08) 8267 2652 The Oxford reopened in early 2000 after undergoing major refurbishment to the front bar, restaurant and upstairs function room. In addition to being thoroughly stocked, the front bar has a very satisfying and well-priced selection of meals, which include risotto, oysters, chicken burgers, parmigiana, pastas and the famous dish they've been churning out for years: the Ox Burger (a really big hamburger served with fries). If you want pub food, meals here are above and beyond the usual fare. Want a bit more? No problem. Step into the back restaurant for the smarter, tastier, more stylish version of the front. A recent menu change sees simpler dishes with more robust flavors, with entrees at $12 to $15 and mains around $20 to $25. Wines are available by the glass, or you can choose from one of the 120 bottles on the wine list.

The Melting Pot 160 King William Road, Hyde Park (08) 8373 2044 In the hub of all things boutique in King William Road, the Melting Pot is spearheaded by English chef Anil Marwaha, whose last port of call was the Stokehouse restaurant in St Kilda, Melbourne. The menu's modern French, which has naturally been tweaked with an Australian influence. It's the full fancy-pants dining experience - appetizer before the meal, sorbet between courses and a wine list loaded with 300 selections from around the world. Entrees start at $17 and mains at $26. Shine your shoes and clean your hair for dinner at this place.

Ying Chow 114 Gouger Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8211 7998 Few locals or even regular visitors to Adelaide recommend restaurants without throwing Ying Chow into the mix. Near the central markets, this restaurant serves up authentic northern Chinese food loaded with flavor, generous portions and bang for the buck. Entrees start at $2.50 and mains at $7.50. Better still, it's also fully licensed or BYO. And to complete the package, Ying Chow is decked out with lino floors and fluro lights.

Cibo 8 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide 5006 (08) 8267 2444 Sporting the same name and family as the cafe/bar in Rundle Street, this restaurant is the older of the two. It serves excellent Italian fare with well-matched wines and is consistently recommended by dining enthusiasts in Adelaide. Situated right across from the lush and rolling Brougham Gardens in north Adelaide, it's also a great location for al fresco dining.

Cafe Michael 2 204 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8223 3519 Located in the heart of Rundle Street, Cafe Michael 2 serves up all the Thai favorites. It has a great selection of local wines by the glass and the essential Thai food accompaniment -- Singha beer. With friendly service, bowls of Tom Yum bigger than your head and Singapore Noodles that'd have Singaporeans drooling, it's a great spot for a dose of Thai.

McGill Estate 78 Penfold Road, Magill 5072 (08) 8301 5551 Served up with a good dose of Penfolds history, this is all about views, legends and Grange by the glass. Set within the confines of historic Penfold's Magill Estate, the restaurant has one wall that's totally glass. In summer, when weather permits, the glass wall "disappears," leaving diners seemingly in the midst of the adjacent vineyard. Very cool. To keep the guesswork to a minimum, each entree is paired with a wine, and mains are paired with two. And don't forget about dessert and a sticky or port.

STELLA (08 8356 4315)

HENLEY ON THE SEA (08 8235 2250)

ESTIAS (08 8353 2875)

These are three restaurants that make the drive to the square at Henley Beach well worth it. The first two have varying themes of Mediterranean, Italian and Spanish food, while Estias serves up traditional Greek fare. All are BYO and fully licensed and boast unbroken views of the bay. It's a delight just getting there, let alone dining there.

CAFES

Adelaide defines the cool cafe myth. Honestly, the place is littered with them so that no matter where you venture, you can always find a cup of coffee.

Cibo Espresso 218 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8232 9199 A racy little hole-in-the-wall that serves as a bar or cafe, depending on what you're after. Like a short black, it's compact and loaded, with a huge selection of bar drinks and a few extras like grappa, amaro and fortifieds. For those after something not so hairy, there's great coffee and an entire counter full of pastries and packaged meals, i ncluding soups and paninis. Teamed with the full spread of newspapers and the prime Rundle Street location, it's just the place to stop for a cup.

Blumensteins 207 Grenfell Street, Adelaide 5000 (08) 8232 9266 One part of Blumensteins is a produce store, which sells seasonally available organic vegies, has a walk-in cheese fridge and a selection of gourmet pantry products, including vinegars, oils and canned tomatoes.

The other part is a cafe that serves a fine selection of breakfasts, cakes, pancakes and organic fruit platters. All this is served to you on great long benches with room enough for the entire newspaper while overlooking the busy Grenfell street. A great way to start the day.

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