Collingwood’s backstreet watering hole, the Leinster Arms Hotel, has been around for more than 150 years. In the ’70s it was frequented by notorious Melbourne gangland figure Mark “Chopper” Read, but more recently the Gold Street pub became a pop-up for Rebecca Feingold’s now-closed West Melbourne cafe Toasta & Co. The end goal, however, was always to restore its neighbourhood-pub roots by reopening it as Goldy’s Tavern.

“The bones and identity of the building were already really beautiful, it was just a little tired,” says Feingold, who’s been careful to retain the pub’s original facade and feel throughout the makeover. “It’s so often the case with old buildings that when too much work is done, it can really rip the soul out of it. We were very aware of that and really wanted to keep the spot’s charm.”

And charm it has. There’s an old-school kind of warmth here, with plenty of dark-wood panelling and soft furnishings throughout. There’s a cosy dining room, kitsch lounge seating to kick back in, and a shelf full of board games. The pool table was reinstalled thanks to demand from the locals. And there’s a sunny, plant-filled atrium out back, and heaps of footpath seating out front.

“We want to have something for everyone here, we want everyone to feel welcome,” says Feingold. “We’re not trying to be too cool or anything, we just want to be inclusive. That’s what a pub is all about.”

The menu reflects that. All the classic counter meals are on the bill: chicken and eggplant parmas, and beef and vegan cheeseburgers, plus bigger share plates such as spiced cauliflower with macadamia puree; charred broccoli with smoked almonds and bush-tomato dressing; and grilled market fish with broad beans, peas and lemon butter.

But the snacks are where things get a bit left-of-centre. Goldy’s does its own version of the Chiko Roll with lemon-myrtle ranch (it comes in familiar-looking packaging, but “Chiko” has been replaced with “Goldy’s”), and mussel “schnitzels” freshened up with asparagus, green peas and chilli. Sweets-wise, the Goldy’s Gaytime is a riff on the beloved ice-cream, which includes treacle-and-wattleseed ice-cream, shortbread, chocolate ganache and crushed peanuts.

Beers are almost exclusively Aussie – and hyperlocal where possible. You’ll find Stomping Ground, Hop Nation, Young Henrys and more on tap, with stubbies and tinnies from Moon Dog, 3 Ravens and Fixation. Each cocktail on the tight, crowd-pleasing list has a quintessentially Aussie name: Bob’s Your Uncle has Fot-Li vermouth and soda; the lemony Tommo Collins blends gin, honey tea and soda; and the Bloody Mary has been rechristened the Bloody Oath.

Kids and dogs are welcome here too, and there’s a pool competition on Wednesday nights. Feingold says nightly specials and a live music set-up are in the works.

Despite the refurb, Goldy’s still feels like a homey local that’s been around for years. “A lot of people had a real connection to the pub because it’s a local hangout, it has a real nostalgic feel for the locals,” Feingold says. “We’ve always related things back to this idea of creating a home that everyone can come [back] to, so hopefully we’ve done that.”

Goldy’s Tavern
66a Gold Street, Collingwood

Hours:
Tue to Thu 3pm–11pm
Fri & Sat 3pm–1am
Sun 3pm–11pm

goldystavern.com.au

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on February 4, 2021. Menu items may have changed since publication.