Every Monday morning, rain, hail or shine, winter or summer I take my little bulls to swimming lessons. Not that I want them to be Olympic swimmers or anything (we are actually related to James Magnussen in some third cousin twice removed kind of way), I just believe that as Australians we all need to know how to swim really, really well. So it's kinda funny that I have been driving past The Australian Hotel & Brewery for the last 12 months en route to swimming lessons every Monday, but I have never stopped in. That may have something to do with the fact that a Mumma taking her 2 wee boys to the pub at 10.00am is a very, very bad look......
Anyway it has always been at the back of mind to try out this pub slash brewery at some stage and finally I did it. But it was a Saturday lunch and I had Mr Munch in tow, so not such a bad look. The AHB is right next door to Bunnings (be careful which drive way you go into) and it has loads of parking out the back. You will immediately notice 2 very large rusted tanks at the entrance. I believed that this must be where they brewed the beer (I was very wrong).
When you enter the fabulous front doors of the AHB you find yourself at first in the midst of a fake vertical garden - the little bulls did their best Tarzan impressions on it..... than you enter into a cool upmarket pub. The interior is sleek and modern with some very cool light fixtures of recycled beer bottles. At first I thought WOW, a bit of city in the bush, but how are we going to entertain the little bulls? No need to worry - if you turn to your left you will find at the back the most ginormous play space.
Seriously I have never seen anything like it. A massive family dining space (separate from the rest of the pub) is located directly in front of 2 big play rooms. The first "soft" room is for your younger ones and it contains a TV and toys suitable for kids under 3 years and than the second room has a huge play gym in it - you know one of those really high ones that you pray your kids don't get stuck in as it will look really embarrassing when you have to squeeze your backside up into it to retrieve said child. Those very large rusted tanks that I mentioned earlier, actually house these play rooms. There are also loads of coin operated machines to occupy your kids so make sure you have some gold coin at the ready. If your kids aren't into playing, bring your Ipad along as their is free wifi.
I would so love to meet the person who designed the layout of this pub. They clearly must have kids and must enjoy going to pubs as I couldn't fault any aspect of the place. Get this - the toilets (with a dedicated parents room) can be accessed directly from the family dining area. There is a big squeeze tube of hand sanitizer mounted on the wall; there was a wall of high chairs (I counted 15 and they were the ones that weren't being used); there was a cork board where kids can pin their picture (all materials supplied) of the AHB with the best one each month winning a $50 voucher for the AHB; they have face painting on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch and dinner; there is free pizza making on Sunday nights; they have loads of activities during the holidays that are FREE; they have a kids club whereby your child receives a free meal on their birthday, plus other offers; and lastly you can host your kids birthday party at the AHB for $15/head (min 10 kids). This may not be very PC for some parents, but its gotta beat the boring old Macca's parties and at least the parents can have a drink whilst they are waiting to drag their kids home!
So on to the food. Swish interiors always mean a slightly pricey menu, and the AHB menu ain't exactly cheap for adults but the children's menu ranges in price from $8-$10. It is your typical kid's menu - the usual deep fried suspects and pizza. This doesn't really bother me as I know my kids eat healthily at home so some grease now and than won't kill them. We chose a ham and pineapple pizza for $9.00. It was huge and tasty and fed both of the little bulls easily. All of the food comes on trendy wooden chopping boards so make sure you take someone up to help you carry the food back to the table, as those boards are darn heavy (who invented that trend anyway?).
I should mention here that it is your typical pub ordering system - you buy your drinks at the bar and you buy your meal at the counter next to it and you are given your buzzer. Once you buzz, you go up and collect your meals. We felt completely safe leaving the bulls momentarily in the play area by themselves, you have full vision of the entrance to the area whilst you are at the bar or bistro collecting your meal/drinks - so no need for helicopter parents here!
Obviously if one is having lunch at a pub one will need a drink. I'm normally a wine kinda girl but I thought that since we were at a brewery, why not try a brew! So I had a Mexican Lager with Lime, upon the recommendation of the bar chick. Oh it was refreshing, just like a corona. Mr Munch and I could have quite easily consumed a few except that we remembered that we had the little bulls to take care of - the joys of being responsible parents!
You can actually do a brewery tour if you fancy, maybe not such a good idea with the kids. Also each day of the week the AHB offers a special deal eg. Thursdays $10.00 pizzas all day and each Sunday from 12.30pm - 2.30pm they have kids entertainment. Now if you don't fancy lunch or dinner you can always drop by from 10am each day just for coffee - and don't worry Mummas I have since done this many times and it isn't such a bad look!
Just to let you know the kids playground shuts at 9.30pm each night...but seriously if you still have your little ones there at that time of night you may not be winning any awards for parent of the year x
350 Annangrove Rd, Rouse Hill NSW 2155
02 9679 4555