Anne-Marie Banting used to be a sommelier. Now she’s a proud publican. She paired up with hospitality veteran Graham Bamford (ex-Galleon Cafe in St Kilda) to take over the Daylesford Hotel in early 2013. They did away with the apricot carpet and salmon pink walls, reinstated the fireplace and added some more beer taps.
The original wooden pub was built in the 1880s, but burnt down before being reconstructed in brick in 1913. The same grand dame remains today. Stained-glass windows catch the strong afternoon sun, and the upstairs verandah is perfect for watching the sky fade to pink.
Food is classic pub grub. Think schnitzel with coleslaw, or house pie with mash and peas. There’s also Sher Wagyu beef burger, or a ploughman’s platter with Istra Smallgoods ham and Maffra Cheese Company cheddar if you want to keep it local.
The bar is stocked with local beers and wines. The adjoining bottle shop supplements its repertoire with a few imports.
There’s a beer garden out the back for balmy evenings, and if you go on that little bit too long, there’s accommodation upstairs. The refurbished rooms jut off a single hallway in dorm fashion, sharing a communal bathroom.
Explore Daylesford further using our detailed Out of Town to Daylesford guide.