Werribee locals will be familiar with the Bridge Hotel; the heritage art deco pub has stood on Watton Street since 1926. But it’s been reborn thanks to the crack team of publicans behind Marquis of Lorne, Union House and the Mount Erica Hotel.
“It’s a beautiful, classic pub facade,” general manager Steve Mitchell tells Broadsheet. “We wanted to bring it back to life and restore a few things – like the three old fireplaces, which are now fully functioning – and the beautiful chequerboard black-and-white tiles in the public bar.” But as for the rest? “[It] had to change.”
The charming watering hole reopened in late 2020, following a four-year closure and an extensive year-long renovation. Now, drinks are served from a curved dark-timber bar covered in forest-green tiles; here you’ll find a range of classic cocktails and local vinos, plus 10 rotating tap beers from breweries like Stomping Ground and Green Beacon.
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But they’ve made sure to keep things familiar for regulars. “You can still come in and get your parma or burger with a pot of Carlton,” he says. “And people love the steaks – we’ve had rave reviews – and our Thursday steak night is the busiest night of the week.”
A laundry list of other pub classics is also on offer: fish’n’chips, bangers and mash, and a hefty chicken schnitzel served with crispy chips and slaw. Plus, there’s an epic, nostalgic fisherman’s basket – a signature – with beer-battered fish, calamari, crumbed prawns, a curried fish cake and potato cakes. But if you’re keen to veer away from the usual suspects, try the grilled pork cutlet with fennel-and-cranberry jam.
As well as the $20 steak night on Thursday, other weekly offers include $18 all-day parmas on Tuesdays and a $25 roast on Sundays. There’s also plenty of live entertainment, with acoustic sessions on Sundays and live DJ sets on Saturday nights.
It draws a motley crew – in the best way. “We certainly have lots of local regulars and try to get involved with a few of the community sporting clubs,” Mitchell says. “But it’s also a bit of a destination pub for people travelling to the area to visit the zoo or Werribee Mansion … We’ve also found with Werribee being halfway between Melbourne and Geelong, it can become a bit of a meeting spot for families.”
197 Watton Street, Werribee
(03) 9742 2895