Pub or restaurant? That's like having to choose a favourite child. It doesn't have to be that way. Regional Victoria's pub restaurants excel in crisp cold beer, with gourmet fare in front bars and beer gardens, plus dining rooms with boutique wine lists. Problem solved, just like that.
Coast to coast, Murray to Melbourne, these are some of our smoothest operators.
Coast along from surf to surf'n'turf and explore Victoria's beachside villages. In Phillip Island, blame it on the San Remo, go Westernport and linger till the Cowes come home at the Phillip Island Hotel.
On the West coast, the Geelong Hotel serves up classics on the all-day menu and the stage. This pub is the music you grew up with.
When you hit the Great Ocean Road, make pit stops at the Blackman's Brewery, Torquay; Aireys Pub and Brewery, Aireys Inlet; Apollo Bay Hotel or Great Ocean Road Brewhouse, Apollo Bay; Hotel Warrnambool or Mac's Hotel, Warrnambool. Detour inland for the Forrest Brewing Company; The Beechy Hotel, Beech Forest; and the Elephant Bridge Hotel, Darlington. But get someone else to drive.
Mosey the length of the Murray River and be rewarded with fine craft ales and culinary finery. Locally known as the Yank, The American Hotel in Echuca draws a constant crowd for its great pub grub, live music and lively vibe (come armed with your singalong voice). Travel upriver to Mildura Brewery, for the craftiest local beers and menus from local culinary legend Stefano de Pieri. In Wodonga, the Goods Shed Craft Beer Café also has the goods: craft beer and regionally sourced fare by the shedload.