Although Stirling is not exactly the big smoke, it's not Hicksville either. It has all the charm of small town living - most people know each other & where they live, you're known at the local shops by your first name, the local cop shop keeps 9a.m.-5p.m. business hours so the crims can plan their activities, we know when new people have arrived as we don't recognize the car etc. etc.
We've also had our share of controversy over the years, predominantly around development applications to that august body, the Adelaide Hills Council our local government authority (& there's a whole bloggie post there!!) We are a one pub town and the Stirling sits in all her beauty on the roundabout in the main street.
Brett & Sarah Matthews are very savvy local Publicans & have been tarting up the old girl to a level that makes our city cousins drool at the mouth. When we first moved up the hill from the city, the pub had an old 2 tier paddock out the back which was loosely known as the 'Carpark'. A few years ago the Matthews decided that it presented a great opportunity to redevelop. So steeling themselves, they went to Council with their ideas - a small set of ripper shops on the upper level & a big undercroft Carpark to replace the stony gravel dust bowl with it's long history of wrecking a zillion pairs of stilettos as their owners stumbled up to their cars at the end of a very big night out.
Well, it didn't go to plan and all hell broke loose. Some of the locals even took up places on the road into town, waving placards denouncing the proposed progress in Johnson Street. They wanted the old dust bowl to be placed on the World Heritage Register & Stirling to remain in it's cosy time warp. The Matthews persisted, got knocked down, dusted themselves off (no pun intended) and went back to the DAP for another round. Finally, after numerous amendments it was approved and we were on our way. In their wisdom they decided to relocate their pokey little Bottle Shop from the side of the pub into all the new retail space bar one. They also made another brilliant move - they got Chris & Nancy Broadfoot very clever local foodies involved. The Stirling Hotel Cellars and Patisserie was born. The Bottle Shop is on one side of the space & the Patisserie is on the other - very dangerous let me tell you!!
First buy your grog......
Then take a couple of steps to the Patisserie to see what Chris has cooked up for the day, grab a coffee......
And if it's not too cold, wander outside to sit, eat, drink & people watch, it's sublime.
So where is this leading to I hear you asking? Well last night, the Stirling Hotel Cellars and Patisserie won the Australian Hotels Association's National Best Retail Liquor Outlet award! So to Brett & Sarah congratulations to you both from all of us at The Hedge. May the pain of battles past be just like the pain of childbirth, forgotten in an instant once a gorgeous trophy is placed in your arms. We love your work (especially the new initiative of after work Tapas and Wine Thursday/Friday). See you very soon. xx
Images: The Stirling Hotel