Food Drink

Restored McLaren Vale pub named best country hotel in SA

The McLaren Vale Hotel is the only pub in the internationally recognised McLaren Vale wine region located in the heart of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

The McLaren Vale Hotel is the only pub in the internationally recognised McLaren Vale wine region located in the heart of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

As the first and only pub in the town of McLaren Vale, it boasts being awarded Best Redeveloped Hotel (Country), WT Spurr Award for Tourism & Regional Promotion and Best Overall Hotel (Country) in the recent Australian Hotels Association Awards  – SA.

Originally the Clifton Hotel, it’s witnessed various transformations, including a stint as The Bellevue Hotel under the ownership of winemaking legend Thomas Hardy. Today, it stands proudly as the McLaren Vale Hotel, a perfect marriage of historic allure and modern flair.

Palmer Hospitality Group, who acquired the pub in 2019, have breathed new life into it. They meticulously peeled back over a century’s worth of renovations to uncover its original features, like the ironstone walls and brickwork, while integrating contemporary elements like a lavish marble top bar.

The result is a striking balance between the old and the new, creating a cozy yet sophisticated atmosphere.

But it’s not just the décor that draws people in. The McLaren Vale Hotel is a culinary hotspot, too. Executive Chef Glenn Worrall’s menu is a tribute to local produce, offering dishes that showcase the region’s rich agricultural heritage.

Whether it’s a quick meal in the Vale Bar or a more elaborate dining experience in the Bellevue Restaurant, there’s something to satisfy all palates. And what better way to accompany your meal than with a glass of wine from the extensive list featuring local vintages, or a beer from a nearby craft brewery?

Palmer Hospitality Managing Director, Martin Palmer said: “At its core, The Vale is a traditional regional pub, and it was always our intent to retain that authenticity through the renovation while creating a premium hospitality experience for visitors from near and far.

“The contemporary fixtures we have chosen simply enhance the familiar, cozy features people have always loved about this place – like the open fireplaces and natural structural materials.

“We knew that hidden behind layers of plaster built up over so many years, were many of The Vale’s original stone walls. 

The pub is proudly “food forward” and executive chef Glenn Worrall, a Fleurieu local, has created a menu which utilizes many regional producers and ingredients that lets the quality and freshness of the produce speak for itself and matches perfectly with the uniqueness of the local wines. 

Mr Worrall said: “Now that there are original building features that are a part of the experience of dining here it’s really important to celebrate local produce.” 

Being a regional pub there are great spaces to enjoy a drink. The Vale Bar is the local’s watering hole which has also become popular with visitors to the region. Visitors mingle with locals while choosing a wine from The Vale Bar’s extensive list or enjoy a beer from one of the many local craft brewers or an artisan gin locally distilled. 

Mr Palmer said: “Ask the barman for tips on the best places to visit around the area! The Vale Bar tips its hat to some of the region’s most iconic vignerons and winemakers: local legends like Bob Hardy, Alec Johnston and the great d’Arry Osborne who all feature on the walls and historic photos scroll through the pub screens to ensure the pub acknowledges its heritage.

No visit to the McLaren Vale is complete without a visit to its pub, it’s a great way to reference any visit to this world renowned wine region.

Where: 208 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
For more info, click here.

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