It wasn’t all that long ago that you would have been taking your life into your hands to go to the Stirling Arms – it had been terribly run down, the customers were a particularly rough and confronting bunch, and it had its liquor licence suspended on more than one occasion. All this has changed with the new owners who have made amazing changes – it has been renovated, cleaned up, and has taken its rightful place as an historic pub in a historic precinct, Guildford.
It was built in the 1850s and the latest renovations in around 2012 have transformed it – the bars inside have been combined into the Ticket of Leave bar – and out the front a pretty nice beer garden has been constructed, shielded from James Street by a high wall and with some trees, umbrellas
and shade cloth.
There is also a restaurant, the Welbourne Room which opens for dinner from Wednesday nights onwards,
and a private dining room available for group bookings.
The hotel sits across the road from the Garrick Theatre which is another restored gem of Guildford.
Lady FWO and I dropped past for a quick drink one afternoon last week. We also checked out the menu in anticipation of a return trip in the near future.
The food offerings are largely what you would expect in a suburban pub – among the starters are arancini balls, duck spring rolls, Cajun calamari and garlic bread; the mains include rack of lamb, pork belly, barramundi, steak and a vegetarian option, an haloumi stack. The usual classic pub meals feature as well -chicken parmigiana, steak sandwich and beef and Guinness pie, as well as something a little different, paella, which comes as chicken, seafood, or vegetarian.
The drinks list has evolved since last I went along – it has some good wines on the list – including Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends from Cape Mentelle, Wills Domain and Amberley; Chardonnay from Warner Glen and Sandalford; Riesling from Grosset; Pinot Noir from Oyster Bay; Cabernet Merlot from Vasse Felix and Forester; and Shiraz from Tintara and Taylors.
Beers on tap include Little Creatures Bright and James Squire Pale Ale, while by the bottle about another 20 feature – Coopers, Beez Neez, Boags, Hahn and Peroni among them.
We settled for a glass of rosé – unfortunately the Omrah on the list was unavailable but another took its place; so we settled down to enjoy that; a table or two of customers were tucking into their meals and the click of a pool game echoed around the place. We were unable to stay long, but it impressed us enough to return soon and to try the food offerings.
The Stirling Arms sits nicely in Guildford, a good, solid neighbourhood local.