“ Address: 31 High Street / Porthmadog / Gwynedd / LL49 9LR / Wales „
While in Porthmadog over Easter my sister and I took her grandsons' into The Australia Inn on the High Street for a spot of lunch, we were not familiar with pubs in the area and this looked nice from the outside despite the fact that it is located on a busy main shopping street so has no front seating.
Unfortunately it was a poor choice and we left pretty much as soon as we had eaten the last mouthful of our mediocre meal. Although the outside of the pub looks to be well maintained, the inside was rather musty in both smell and appearance and the clientele are not conductive to a relaxed meal (or to terribly good trade judging by the amount of empty seats in this well located eaterie).
We felt unwelcome from the moment we placed our drinks order. The bar isn't terribly well stocked with several of the drinks being unavailable, the unhelpful barman was rude in my opinion and when he bothered to wander over to serve us he didn't offer any help as to what was available despite the fact that our first three choices were out of stock. It was rather farcical actually as I requested various drinks only to be told they weren't available, almost like a guessing game and he seemed to find great amusement in the fact that he was able to keep saying 'no, we haven't got it' - of course, much of it was showing off as his cronies were sat at the end of the long bar sniggering to themselves as he attempted to best a couple of pensioners and young children.
In the end we were served a drink each and took them over to a rather sticky table (not by choice you understand, they were all sticky and piled high with glasses and used plates) where we perched on the edge of suspiciously stained and dirty seats. It was too late to decide not to eat here as we had placed our food order at the same time as buying our first (and only) round of drinks, again several choices were not available so in the end we all ended up with a baguette and plate of chips. Now, this is usually a rather substantial meal when served in a pub and although the choice of baguette fillings were somewhat limited I was still expecting a fresh and tasty plated meal to keep us going until we could visit a better establishment for our tea!
Somewhat unsurprisingly the food was neither fresh nor particularly tasty. The baguettes tasted stale and I got the impression that they had been warmed through too much to make them a little softer, by the time I was halfway through mine the other end had started to harden to the point of it not being edible at all. I had a tuna mayo filling which was sloppily put together and very watery, not the rich tuna and sweetcorn filling I have become accustomed to from visits to other pubs both in this area and beyond. There was absolutely no salad garnish on the plate which made the meal look very bland and unappetising, even the chips were tasteless and plainly a cheap brand of fry chips as they were absolutely soaked in fat and almost stone cold.
I complained to the surly barman who simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away to join his friends. No apology was given, no offer of a replacement (which I wouldn't have accepted anyway) and I doubt I would have been given a refund even if I'd asked for one. To add insult to injury the meal was not even cheap, costing almost £15 for our three appalling plates of greasy chips and probably out of date baguette!
The toilets in The Australia Inn were surprisingly clean, not as well maintained as those in other pubs in the area but cleaner than the general pub itself and also smelled fresh and clean. I cannot comment on the gents toilet as my sisters grandsons' are still young enough to come into the ladies with us, but there was no whiff of staleness as I walked past - at least no whiff other than the general staleness of the pub!
The Australia Inn also has several rooms above the pub itself for people visiting the area. Personally I shudder to think what the rooms are like and according to one chap we were talking to they rarely have paying guests apart from the odd tourist who doesn't know what a revolting place they have chosen to spent their precious holiday time at. Rooms looked to be rather highly priced judging by the pamphlets on the tables and although the photos made them look nice enough I got the feeling they were taken a long time ago as they looked terribly dated.
The atmosphere in The Australia Inn is not good either. Considering it's located in the heart of Porthmadog town there is absolutely no consideration given to the fact that tourists are more than likely going to want to use the pub. The few customers were mainly locals and despite the fact that it was the middle of the day the majority of them were already in their cups and this made the pub very rowdy, children are allowed in but the boys looked very anxious throughout our visit and couldn't jump up quick enough when we told them we were going. It's a shame really as the pub is a decent size and it could be so much more, unfortunately the people who run it seem to want to keep it as downmarket as possible.
As a very brief aside, when we visited the wonderful Queens Hotel (also in Porthmadog) we were discussing The Australia Inn with a lovely Welsh gentleman who we were sharing a table with outside. After recounting our appalling visit to him the first words out of his mouth were 'They just hate the English in there' followed by gushing praise of the pub in past times and then a lengthy rundown of what is wrong with the place now. Which boiled down to everything.