Get lucky in both love, and wine at this Church Street pub
Photos: Sean Fennessy
If it’s Saturday night, best you come prepared for a party. The Royal Saxon may be more of a bistro by week, when a handful of locals snack on Italian eats in the huge heated beer garden, but when school’s out, the Royal parties hard. Thumping house beats greet you on approach. Inside, it’s a mess of blow-waved locks and tight frocks and guys who wear ties on a Saturday – an even mix of real estate agents and those on their way to the members box at the footy. But don’t write it off as a non-serious institution. Upstairs in the second bar, the booths may be shrouded in clubby darkness, but ask for a glass of white and instead of pushing a flabby Marlborough sauv blanc your way, your server might steer you into an amazingly savoury and fusty Second Take Roussanne from Yelland and Papps – at only a 50 percent mark up. On tap, they have a guest faucet for craft beer among the familiar Kirins and Little Creatures. You can get Murray’s bold Punch and Judy ale by the bottle, or if you need a cocktail injection, it's mostly hard booze for big kids, veering dark, rummy and boozy. Come early or call ahead on the weekend if you want to scoff a thin-based Margherita pizza or a pretty antipasti platter. There’s a queue outside from 9pm and most tables book out.