Reviews & Press
Well that's what they say
The following are some articles and clippings that make us look great. Have a read and please let us know what you think, and if you happen to see a write up or review — we’d be grateful to hear about it too.
Visit Melbourne Napier Review — December 2008 The Napier Hotel is the ultimate ‘local’. It’s the sort of place you’d love to have within walking distance when you’re heavily hung-over, starving and wearing yesterday’s clothes.
With a casual vibe and a value-for-money atmosphere, this pub welcomes in both the post-work suits and those that are trackie-dack-clad. It hasn’t succumbed to the trendy homogenisation of bar culture. Instead, it has held onto its original Aussie pub roots – offering good beer, music, pool and legendary food.
This old colonial style establishment represents grungy Fitzroy at its best. With well-worn dark wooden floors, it stands proudly decorated with dusty paraphernalia and historic photos from the defunct Fitzroy Lions Football Club. All the great locals hang out here – Carlton Draught, Cascade, Mountain Goat, Little Creatures and Coopers (as well as the odd international interloper).
These amber liquids are a great way to wash down one of the Napier Hotel’s gargantuan pub meals. The huge servings are designed for the post-work or post-booze appetite. The Bogan Burger (a burger with the lot, including a potato cake!) is the most famous dish on the menu, but you’d better be seriously hungry if you’re even contemplating tackling this bad boy.
The Age Epicure Review — September 2008 As the gentrification of Fitzroy continues apace, it can be tempting to gnash teeth and rend garments over the slow death of the suburb’s bohemian heart. But despite ever-increasing numbers of swanky clothing stores and lifestyle apartments, there are still enough deliberately down-market, ratbaggy pockets fighting the good fight, preventing how things are from turning into how things might be.
Front and centre of this particular battle are Fitzroy’s backstreet pubs.
The Napier Hotel is one of the suburb’s most Fitzroy-ish pubs and not just because of its proximity to the over-the-top grandeur of the Town Hall.
The slightly battered but still beautiful pub building, with its grey walls and skirt of dark green tiles, has been left largely untouched. Inside it is a rabbit warren of small rooms filled with well-worn furniture sitting on even more well-worn timber floors. The few nods to modernity – a hugely popular beer garden, smart red awnings that shelter smokers on the footpath, and a glowing Coopers sign – are mixed with the unchanging cosiness of the front bar with its shrine to the past glories of the Fitzroy Football Club (“Hear them roar like ’44″).
It is the sort of place where the heads of regular drinkers swivel in the direction of the door when it opens, mostly because they half-expect to see someone they know. But the Napier is not a smug, closed shop, just one where, with the right attitude you, too, can feel like you’ve been propping up the bar for years.
There are plenty of good reasons besides history and bohemian solidarity to prop up the bar. There are 10 beers on tap, including Horseshoe Dinner Ale that is brewed especially for the Napier. There is a decent, solid list of Australian wine and huge, remarkably cheap meals that mostly tow the pub standard fish and chips, steak and chips line.
The notorious Bogan Burger (a stomach-turning stack of steak, chicken schnitzel, potato cake, bacon, egg, cheese, onion, pineapple and beetroot served between slabs of Turkish bread, with wedges and salad on the side, $15.50) makes up in generosity what it lacks in common human decency.
The Napier and many of its backstreet Fitzroy brethren remain popular despite the onslaught of gentrification, proving that there is bohemian life left in the old girl yet.
The Age Cheap Eats 2009 “Much like its backstreet location, the Napier is part scruffy Smith Street and part selfconsciously fashionable Brunswick Street”
The Age Michael Harden, 8-9-2008 “despite ever-increasing numbers of swanky clothing stores and lifestyle apartments, there are still enough deliberately down-market, ratbaggy pockets fighting the good fight, preventing how things are from turning into how things might be. Front and centre of this particular battle are Fitzroy’s backstreet pubs. The Napier Hotel is one of the suburb’s most Fitzroy-ish pubs and not just because of its proximity to the over-the-top grandeur of the Town Hall.”
The Age Cheap Eats 2008 “You’ll have to head to the beer garden for a ciggie, but thankfully that’s the only thing that’s changed here”
The Age Cheap Eats 2007 “Through the front bar that lionises a footy team long-since departed north, you might settle fireside with Tom Waits crooning a lament or, in warmer climes, squish into the arty beer garden with the rest of Fitzroy.”
The Age Cheap Eats 2006 Despite Fitzroy’s blanket makeover, this pub has retained its grungy, lived-in charm. Old-fashioned lampshades emanate a warm glow over uni students and loyal locals, who cradle beers beneath the footy memorabilia
The Age Cheap Eats 2005 “NO chichi revamp, no Ibiza stylings. This laid-back, picturesque old pub hasn’t messed with a winning formula: supplying huge portions of pub fare along with cool music, Fitzroy footy memorabilia and sassy staff on the side.”
The Age Cheap Eats 2004 “The good old pub meal is updated but uncorrupted at the Napier Hotel, an inner-suburban stayer that nobly resists yuppification and still displays Fitzroy Football Club memorabilia with pride.”
The Foodies’ Guide 2004 Allan Campion & Michelle Curtis,’A local for many hungry souls and a drinking spot for old Fitzroy supporters,whose memorabilia decorates the walls.The food is modern,hefty and wholesome.’