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Melbourne Q&A with the Pinnacle Hotel

For the 2nd year running, The Pinnacle Hotel took out our Top 50 Pubs in Melbourne countdown. Something that had never been achieved before. We ask owner Leigh Wilkes, the secret to running a great watering hole.

When did you buy the Pinnacle and what first attracted you to it? In 2005 my mother in law was living in North Fitzroy, and her and my wife were out exploring the neighbourhood one night and came across this beautiful building and poked their heads in for a look. What they discovered was a quirky little bar, a local secret and a wealth of untapped potential. It wasn’t for sale but I figured there would be no harm in writing Jan, the owner, a letter asking about her intentions for the business. As it turned out she was about ready to move on and in 2006 it was ours. Serendipity.

How would you describe the venue to someone who has never been before? The Pinnacle is your Nanna’s house, if your Nanna loved beer so much she put 9 taps in her living room. The Pinnacle is a place of simple pleasures, hospitality, conversation, live music. A regular meeting place, a local pub you can feel at home in.

Leigh Wilkes, owner of the Pinnacle Hotel.

Pubs in the area seem to be hosting less bands these days, yet you continue to host them 3-4 nights a week. Why is that? Musicians work in pubs, they also drink in pubs, so we like to give them the opportunity to play in pubs. The setup at the Pinnacle is pretty raw, you’re basically playing in a backyard, but the bands get reminded of why they started playing in the first place, the punters pick up the vibe and it just works. Music is the Pinnacle’s soundtrack, live and free.

Your menu takes classic pub grub and gives it a twist. What can you tell us about the chef and his signature dish? Chef Tim came to us from the Rose hotel in Fitzroy, from a time when if you wanted a classic Melbourne pub feed you  went to the Rose. The menu didn’t change much there though so Tim’s creativity was being wasted. When he came to us, I let him fly. We still love the Pub classics but our daily specials board gives him the opportunity to do what he loves with food. So what we get is French, Spanish, North African, Japanese, Scottish themed pub grub. The deep dish pie is an ever changing, endearing classic that is much loved.

You cottoned on early that people want more than CUB. How do you describe you beer range? Self indulgent? The beer list reflects my love of tasty beer. Supporting those crafty little guys who put it all on the line to make good alternative beers has been a passion of mine since I had my first bottle of the original Mountain Goat pale ale back in the early 2000’s. I take great pride in the fact I’ve converted my regulars away from mass produced lagers on to more handcrafted and flavoursome brews. Our beer range reflects the history and story of beer before some clever marketer captured our ‘hard earned thirst’ and condensed it into a single style.

Any developments in the future? We’ll keep doing what we do and striving to be better. We’re trying some new things with entertainment, adding some theatrical stuff, storytelling, play reads. Building our live music following is a big focus too. We’ll keep trying to do whatever we can to make the Pinnacle feel like a big warm hug!



Karl Kopp


10 Sep 2015 10:19 PM


12 Dec 2017 12:00 PM


pub beer awards

Latest Specials

  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    Express Lunch $20 Any pizza with a pot of tap beer, glass of house wine or a soft drink $25 Any pizza with a pint, any other beer or wine by glass
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    $5 Corona, Pots & House Wines $6 Basics $7 Schooners & all other beers and wines by glass $8 Most other spirits $9 Pints $10 Most top shelf $12.50 Espresso Martinis
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    $5 Corona, Pots & House Wines $6 Basics $7 Schooners & all other beers and wines by glass $8 Most other spirits $9 Pints $10 Most top shelf $12.50 Espresso Martinis
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    Tapas $5 small things
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    $15 half bottles (375ml carafes with 20+ to choose from)
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    $15 Jugs
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    All menu cocktails $12.50. Book a celebration of 6+ guests and receive 2 free cocktails
  • Tazio (Melbourne)
    Pasta of the day with wine to match $25


The Happiest Hour
ABN: 76 600 098 753
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About Us

Chris and Karl are experts in their field. Chris has been a lifestyle journalist and New Media lecturer for the past 15 years, while Karl is a technologist focused on web and internet technologies. Both their skills have combined to create one of Australia's most popular hospitality websites.

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