Written by TOM ANGLEY
The Tap Inn is big on golf. There’s a driving range, mini golf on the roof and even a statue of Greg Norman by the bar. Unfortunately, like the ‘Great White Shark’ himself, this pub is well past its prime.
Located in Kent Town, The Tap Inn has two main sections: Birdies Restaurant and Mulligan’s Bar. Birdies offers a ‘fine dining’ experience complete with bird aviary, while Mulligan’s has a more laid-back atmosphere; big screen TV’s, couches and tables all across three storeys adorned with golf memorabilia.
The set-up is great – there’s a reason why this pub won the 2006 South Australian Hotel of the Year. However, despite the unique layout, much of what made this pub such a success has gone.
Those re-visiting The Tap Inn will immediately notice the changes to the menu. New management have re-introduced the tapas but they’re barely recognisable. The three tapas selection with chips and salad is now a ‘pick ‘n’ choose’ affair, where customers choose them individually at $9 each. A little pricey, surely, considering the bartender hinted that “three or four” tapas would be considered a full meal.
The tapas include various meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes all with one thing in common – they’re tiny! Two dim sims for nine bucks isn’t my idea of value. Other mains are more reasonable and range from $9.90 – $28 at Mulligan’s, though the food is typical pub fare. Oh, a word of warning – the new ‘sensational’ (as advertised) bar meal deal of a beef schnitzel with a schooner of pale ale is anything but, as my unwitting friend found out. A small, battered piece of ‘meat’ with a few chips and a cup of what had to be packeted salad was, simply put, inedible.
Drinks specials include happy hour ($5 pints) between 3pm – 6pm on weekdays, and cheap vodkas during February and March. As for the music, DJ ‘Kieran’ plays every Friday and Saturday while guitarists play on Thursdays and Sundays, though the live bands of old are nowhere to be seen. Shame.
The Tap Inn prides itself on being the only pub in Adelaide with a driving range, but why pay $16.60 to hit one hundred balls 50 metres when I can pay less to play a full round of golf instead? It’s a hard sell and the poor crowds reflect this – the beer garden was empty by 11pm. Loyalty cards have been introduced for new golfers to entice them into returning, but when you have to play nine games to get one free, it’s hardly worth it. The crowd itself is mostly middle-aged who are often there for functions – birthdays, bucks nights, work celebrations and the like. If you see any large groups of uni students there, let me know.
I realise The Tap Inn is trying to recapture the award-winning days of its past, but gimmicks and dodgy deals won’t bring back the crowds. The basics of good food, efficient customer service and a friendly atmosphere would be a start, rather than focusing solely on the golf element. Until then, this pub is one to avoid. Fore!
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