I do love a good country pub and the Hotel Canobolas in down town Orange is once very decent country watering hole. The exterior of the art deco style building is to be honest nothing to write home about (just like a good book with a bad cover so to speak), but don't let that put you off, as waiting for you inside is one very stylish eatery and bar.
On a recent visit to Orange we dined at the Hotel Canobolas twice because it was so good. We first popped in for lunch when we had just arrived in town on a long weekend. We easily found a park on the street and wandered in and discovered that the dining room was almost empty. After a quick squizz at the menu we went up to the bar and ordered our meals and drinks. They have an excellent list of local wines for you try, as well as some decent craft beers on tap. For kidlets just make sure you ask for their soft drink/juice in a kid size glass, otherwise they will be trying to handle their first schooner!
Kids have their very own menu which is made up of the usual pub fare. However for the price of $9.00 the kids also receive a tub of Bulla ice cream and an activity pack! This kept our boys occupied for our whole meal and we took the packs along with us for the rest of the weekend and used them at places that didn't provide any activities for kidlets. Now I know that the health warriors reading this will be unimpressed with the menu as it is deep fried blah blah blah, but I can report that when the boys nuggets & chips arrived they were accompanied by a big side of fresh salad and likewise in the evening when they had snags & chips, the meals came with a huge side of freshly steamed vegetables.
The Hotel Canobolas is famous in the central west for their steaks - the pub has its own farms where they raise the beef for their restaurant. The various cuts of meat are available for you to choose from (in front of the kitchen), and then you have the option of either cooking it yourself or you can just let chef do it. If that is just all a bit too carnivore for your liking, then there are loads of other options such as wood fired pizzas, salads, burgers and other typical pub favourites. Over our two visits we tried the sliders, the steak sandwich and the garlic prawn pizza. All the meals were tasty and served really quickly.
The service at the Hotel Canobolas was brilliant. The young and vibrant staff were on the ball the whole time and could teach some bar staff in Sydney a thing or two about the art of hospitality. Take for example when we naively rocked up on a Sunday night thinking we could dine without a booking - a chap immediately greeted us and explained that they were going to have a full house that evening. However, he still made an effort to find us a table to dine at, instead of turning us away. If you choose to dine of an evening (on a weekend especially), I do recommend that you make a booking, and make it for an early hour - the Hotel Canobolas is the favourite haunt of both locals and visitors to Orange.
Just a few other tidbits of information for you about the pub - there is easy access for your pram and a reasonable amount of space to manoeuvre it once inside. Make sure you enter through the main entrance on Summer Street - pushing a pram through a public bar ain't a good look. High chairs are available as are toilets right next to the dining area - however they don't contain a baby change table. There is a lovely outdoor seating area, which would be an ideal spot to sit when dining with kids, but Orange's weather in winter is quite chilly, so we decided against sitting out there.
If you are in Orange without the kids, make sure you check out Chesterfields Whisky & Wine Bar on level one of the pub - it looks a wee bit flash and the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy a kid free evening. Oh and if any of the men folk in your tribe need a short back and sides, there is barber's shop in the foyer of the hotel!
Do you love a good country pub Little Munchers? Do you have a favourite (that is family friendly of course!).
248 Summer St, Orange NSW
02 6362 2444
Open 7 days
Mon - Thu 10am - midnight
Fri - Sat 11am - 1am
Sun 11am - 10pm