Michael recently took the unprecedented step of holding pub club on a Saturday night, using his impending birthday as an excuse. He chose the Sporting Club Hotel, having heard that they'd recently changed their menu. They had some live music going on in the front room, which most of us agreed was pleasant but way too loud, so we retired to the dining/pool room.
The tapas, tacos, mains and sides offer clear and appetising options for vegetarians and the gluten-free, but nothing more than a snack or two for vegans.
When my first chosen main (the warm goats cheese tart, $18) proved unavailable, I decided to test out two tapas. The polenta chips ($10) served with lemon aioli were the win of the night, not least because there were enough for me to share around. They had the perfect balance of crispy outer and creamy inner, and enough seasoning to keep them interesting even in the absence of the aioli.
The pea and haloumi fritters ($10) were also very good, not too squeaky and at their best mopping up that pool of chipotle mayo. I appreciated the modest garden salad on the side, too.
Michael checked out the portobello mushroom burger ($20 - his first of four that week!). It came with potatas bravas, more lemon aioli and some bonus greens. The burger was pretty tasty, though the grilled mushroom and the beetroot-onion relish made for some sloppy eating.
This pub's name suggests that it shouldn't be my scene but front bar aside, I've felt very comfortable at the Sporting Club Hotel. The menu has a few nice tweaks on what's typically offered to vegetarians in the inner north (though I'm mindful that it's quite dairy-heavy) and everything we've tried has been cooked and presented to a high standard. I think it's earned a spot in pub club's regular rotation.
You can read about our previous visit to the Sporting Club Hotel here. I've not been able to find any other blog reviews of it in the year since.
Sporting Club Hotel
27 Weston Street, Brunswick
veg snacks and mains $5-$21
Accessibility: The Sporting Club has a flat standard-width entry and plenty of space inside. Ordering and payment takes place at the bar, which in our experience can be very loud. The toilets were easy to get to but were just ordinary sized cubicles for men and women.