This year’s Pub of the Year, Goldy’s! Tavern; ‘How Good’s the Pub?’

Story by Cara Devine. Cara is our Melbourne-based drinks writer. She is the manager of Bomba in Melbourne and the face and talent behind the cocktailing youtube channel Behind the Bar. You can email her at

Goldy’s Tavern
66A Gold St, Collingwood

I visited Goldy’s! Tavern on a sunny Sunday afternoon and they were living up to their exclamation point – the place was buzzing. Gen Z-ers played pool in the front room under the watchful eye of a sixty-something regular in a cowboy hat. A milestone birthday was being celebrated in the Atrium, and in the beer garden new Dads gently bounced their babies while sipping pots and exchanging war stories – quietly, so as not to disturb the bubs. A toddler and a King Charles spaniel became best buds every time the former toddled by in his never-ending explorations and on another table a traveller returned from overseas to a raucous hero’s welcome. This is the Aussie pub – new friends and old friends, all generations welcome.

For owner Rebecca Feingold, it’s what makes a pub a pub. “Our vision for Goldy’s, and what I believe is at the core of every pub, is ‘a home everyone can come home to’. A home away from home.” And this is the simple vision that has propelled Goldy’s! to Bar Awards Pub of the Year 2022, less than two years after they opened.

“Goldy is your slightly rough around the edges but very loveable aunt. She’s uncouth, bounces to the beat of her own drum, calls everyone ‘love’ and ‘darl’ while downing a brandy and flashing some lippie on her front teeth.” – Owner, Rebecca Feingold

She took over the building in February 2020 – right before the “shmozzle” of Covid hit. “At the time I had another business called TOASTA which was food trucks and a cafe. In April 2020, I, along with my incredible staff, shut the cafe, put the trucks into storage and activated a TOASTA take away shop in the atrium of the pub. Since TOASTA already had a strong following, this was such an amazing way to activate the space and meet the whole community at such a time of isolation and uncertainty. At the same time, myself and one of my best friends who is a brilliant designer, Emily Bailey moved into the pub together, and spent the whole lockdown of 2020 living there, running the TOASTA shop and working to create everything that is Goldy’s, including the branding, renovations and interiors.”

This included creating a character around Goldy – while the name comes from it’s location on Gold Street, Feingold reckons “Goldy is your slightly rough around the edges but very loveable aunt. She’s uncouth, bounces to the beat of her own drum, calls everyone ‘love’ and ‘darl’ while downing a brandy and flashing some lippie on her front teeth.” Who doesn’t want to hang out with her?

There is a similar theme with other lockdown-baby venues I’ve profiled – as hard as it was, new venue owners were given the time and space to do things exactly as they wanted; staff helped with everything from design to planting the beer garden or driving around to collect Facebook Marketplace finds that give the pub it’s unique feel. “While it was a stressful time, we were so blessed to have such an incredible project to work on while we established ourselves in the community through the takeaway shop. As soon as restrictions lifted, we invited a bunch of the locals to come and sample our menu and provide feedback, then opened our doors three weeks after the lockdown ended. It was really quite surreal.”

There is a strong Australiana theme in the menu, from the Bloody Oath (the proprietary Bloody Mary) that I sampled on said Sunday to the Goldy’s Roll which is a fancy take on the Chiko roll – for Feingold, the focus is on nostalgia and coming together through fond experiences. The menu is well balanced to appease all facets of the local clientele, with Carlton Draught, parmas and ‘mates rates’ happy hours sitting easily alongside a considered natty wine selection, fun cocktails and Indian leaning food specials.

Staff are so important to creating a welcoming vibe in this kind of community hub, something that Feingold is extremely cognisant of. “We ensure that we hire staff that align with the values [of the business]. We believe this is far more important than experience, which can be taught. If staff can encapsulate the values and share these with the other staff and customers, we know they will be a great asset.”

They focus on supporting local and independent breweries – Bodriggy is the team’s favourite watering hole on a day off – and LOVE dogs. “Our dining room is called the Good Bois room and is covered in dogs. We have also recently designed ‘Doggo’s of Goldy’s’ tea towels featuring pictures of our local dogs drawn by their humans, and we donate half the proceeds to rehoming more dogs.”

The ‘choose your own adventure’ aspect of pubs is what makes them such a pillar of the community in Australia and Goldy’s! covers those options, and more. To create the kind of environment where all the disparate characters from the first paragraph feel comfortable takes more than just opening a venue in an old pub building. So what does Pub of the Year mean to Feingold and her team? “Being my first pub, and only opening less than 2 years ago, this award is beyond any achievement I could have imagined. Having a strong direction with the vision helped develop strong branding, voice and identity, product offering, fit out, and values, which I believe has been at the core of Goldy’s success.” And the only way is up from here. “A pub is such a special, versatile space that allows you to be super creative and really have fun”.

How good’s the pub, eh?