A thirsty punter’s guide to scoring a pub booking stress free

A thirsty punter’s guide to scoring a pub booking stress free

The Retreat
Words by Jessica Boland

Getting a table at the pub just became harder than scoring Golden Plains tickets.

It’s a great time to be a Melburnian. With lockdown easing, punters can finally get back on the beers. But as literally millions of people emerge from their recluse all at once, scoring a booking at your favourite bar or pub has become a new extreme sport.

Everyone is desperate to get stuck into that delicious pub feed they’ve been missing for months, and while it may seem like getting a table at your preferred spot is next to impossible, there are some ways to navigate the stampede.

Be open to booking on weeknights

There’s no doubt Friday through Sunday will be absolutely packed to COVID-safe capacity at any, and every, given time. So, if you’re really keen to get that pub feed you’ve been so sorely missing, try booking midweek. A few beers on a Tuesday never go astray.

If weeknights aren’t available, book a midweek lunch sesh

Come on, you’ve been munching down the same cheese and tomato toasted sanga for months. You deserve a pub lunch, you know you do. We’re sure the boss will understand.

Don’t be afraid to try somewhere new

The harsh reality is, your favourite joint might book out weeks in advance. Don’t shy away from doing a bit of research and checking out your surroundings. Find a local spot, or a smaller pub you haven’t been to before. Besides, these places have been doing it really tough in 2020 and supporting an eatery that’s not your regular could do it the world of good.

Be patient

Alright, we know it’s been several long, arduous months since you’ve been able to sit at your favourite pub, sipping a cold beer, eating a parma, but if you really want your first time back to be at a place that’s really special to you, you might have to wait a little longer.

Maybe its worth waiting out the first week or so for things to die down. Don’t worry, you’ll get your time in the sun eventually.

Try smaller bookings

While it may be tempting to organise some celebratory beers at the pub with you and nine of your friends, you’re less likely to land a booking when you’re in a big group. Try getting together with just a couple pals at a time – the pub will be able to slot you in far more easily.

Play the cancellation game

You can almost guarantee there will people who flake on their bookings last minute which is your opportunity to swoop in. This one takes a bit of persistence though as it might take a few phone calls but if the venue is good enough, they’ll have their own cancellation list.

Call the venue rather than book online

If your desired pub is doing online bookings, there’s a chance they could have a few spare spots here and there. If you give them a bell at the right time, you could score yourself a table that online bookers might miss out on as there’s always a bit of lag with the digital process.

Work your connections

Most of us have friends who work in hospo and there’s no harm in asking the harmless question, “What are my chances?”. They’re not going to rig the system to get you in but they’ve got enough inside work to analyse your prospects.

Thirsty for a pint? Check out our running list of the pubs and bars reopening in Melbourne and get yourself a booking.

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