The Grand HotelPortarlington, Victoria
The 1888-built Portarlington Grand Hotel has had a few renovations over the years, but none as big as this.
A $10 million refurbishment has turned the local watering hole of this once sleepy town on the Bellarine into an absolute coastal gem.
There’s a few different parts to get your head around. First, the Atrium; a light-filled, open-air space with nautical vibes that don’t overdo it.
Out the back of the Atrium there’s the Lawn, a breezy, green area with picnic tables and umbrellas. You can imagine an absolute vibe kicking up here in the summer months.
Heading indoors there’s the front bar; with wooden floorboards and booths – a bloody good spot to catch some mates. And further down through the classy walkway is the bistro, which is packed out most weekends for lunch and dinner.
The pub’s food offering makes heavy use of this coast’s excellent seafood. Portarlington mussels – the subject of a truly riotous mussel festival every January – are especially delicious here in the seafood-and-chorizo risotto. You’ll also find pub staples such as panko-crumbed schnitties, the classic chicken parma, whiting with chips and more. Locals supply the grog, with esteemed wineries Jack Rabbit and Terindah Estate, plus Flying Brick Cider Co, The Whiskery and more.
Portarlington is only an hour from Melbourne by ferry, which cuts across Port Phillip Bay and is actually shorter than driving, making it the perfect weekend getaway location. There's 18 stunning rooms upstairs from the pub main, six featuring balconies looking out over the town and the water.
There’s been plenty of pub and restaurant openings over the last few years, and s well as being on the water and a destination in its own right, Portarlington is in close proximity to surf coast hotspots like Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.
Get down there…before everyone else does.