The Stirling Hotel has been the heart of this Hills town for more than a century. These days, it beats a little faster.
The grand, wrap-around verandah is still intact, but this is hardly your average historic pub. Under a single roof you’ll find a fine-dining restaurant and a separate bistro; a pizza bar; boutique accommodation; function decking; and even a library.
The bistro’s a no-nonsense sort of joint, with the obvious choices on tap and a menu of classic cocktails. There are contemporary takes on traditional pub meals, such as the “funky slaw” schnitzel and beef short-rib pie.
But what really sets the Stirling apart is the Gin Club, headed up by long-time enthusiasts Richard Rogosic (assistant manager) and Colin Leak (of the neighbouring Cellars & Patisserie). It features 20 gins, including a dozen from local distilleries, all paired with native and exotic botanicals.
There’s a real determination here that the Stirling be all things to all people. Owners Brett and Sarah Matthews have used their travels across the States and UK to gather ideas and themes, and no doubt this pub will be a venture that’s ever-evolving.