Railway Hotel Fitzroy North
While The Railway Hotel has lived a few lives, it’s always held onto its nostalgic ‘70s feel. The previous owners Peter and Miriam Negrelli took over the Italian-leaning pub in 1972 and managed it for more than 50 years. Today, it’s run by Mat Everett (Corner Hotel, Northcote Social Club), but nods to the Negrelli’s legacy in more ways than one.
It’s still a jumble of simply furnished rooms and cosy nooks, decked out with terrazzo tiling, wood panelling, vintage beer paraphernalia and a peekaboo fish tank, which are all enough to make you feel like you’re walking into a mid-century time capsule.
The menu has a few pub classics like steak and parmas, but there are plenty of nods to the venue’s forebears. (Miriam almost single-handedly ran the kitchen, serving up home-style Italian plates.) Of course, there’s still lasagne, which is souped up with a slow-cooked ragu of minced pork and veal, pork and fennel sausage, salami, and pancetta, topped with provolone and mozzarella and served with slaw. The broken pasta is a play on the classic pasta in brodo (broth) – here, fettuccine is cracked and served in double chicken stock with poached mussels and calamari.
Smaller options are available, too, and might include the arancini (a suppli-style oval) of buttery risotto blended with house sugo and stuffed with basil and bocconcini, and a dish of ricotta whipped with confit garlic, served with fresh and pickled veg.
You can enjoy it inside or venture to the concrete-lined courtyard and find twinkling fairy lights, shady trees and plenty of casual seating. Like any other classic pub, it also has a pool table and foosball table inside, and a bustling community atmosphere throughout. This faithful neighbourhood haunt attracts locals new and old, just like it has for generations.
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