A faint red halo surrounds the deathly quiet corner of River and North streets in Richmond. Its source: a huge neon sign, with elegant cursive spelling out, “The Royston”.
Open a creaky, swing door and you’ll see The Royston is a true locals pub – warm, welcoming and filled with that familiar sound of music and pub chatter. There’ll be people at communal tables, sunken into couches, or playing pool at any given time.
Walls are stone, floors are wood and lamps are yellow. The back dining room has squeaky wooden chairs and old dressers filled with cutlery. It’s cosy and traditional.
This aesthetic belies the modern approach to drinks. The Royston Hotel was the first pub in Melbourne to turn all its taps away from the majors in favour of small, independent breweries. That’s common now, but it was a huge risk back in 2005.
The menu features classics such as parma and steaks, but there are also notable vegetarian options (chickpea claypot, vegetable lasagna) and an Asian influence (banh mi).