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THE days when Swan Gold was considered a boutique beer and gourmet pub food meant you got a napkin with your minute steak sandwich are long gone. More often than not these days, however, when you head off to the pub you are treated to restaurant-quality cuisine.

In fact many old-fashioned pubs have become restaurants in their own right. The Subiaco Hotel, for instance, is a winner of numerous awards for the quality of its food. And the Queens Hotel in Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley, has been serving very good pub food for years.

Other hotels, such as Steve’s Nedlands Park Hotel, run Gold Plate-quality restaurants.

The rise in the quality of cuisine coming out of the kitchens of Perth’s pubs has led to the demise of old-style pub grub. Prices on pub menus throughout the city are much the same as you will pay at many restaurants and cafes. And the beer you drink more often than not will come out of a bottle rather than an ice-cold middy glass.

Mind you, every now and then when you are out with the lads on a Saturday afternoon, soaking up the atmosphere of the football on the big screen, you crave a minute steak sandwich with fried onions and barbecue sauce that you can eat standing up.

While many of the pubs around town enjoy the success that their restaurants bring, one of my favourite places to eat and relax while enjoying good beer is JB O’Reilly’s in Cambridge Street, West Leederville.

Having not been to JB’s (as the locals call it) for a while I decided to drop in for a good pint and a decent feed.

From past experiences it is always advisable to book, and essential over the weekend and for Friday lunch.

As you may infer from its name JB O’Reilly’s is an Irish pub. For many in Perth it’s still the original and the best, set up in 1993. The pub restaurant attracts locals, businessmen from the area, West Perth and punters who enjoy really good pub grub.

My friends furtively studied the menu as we settled into a pint of Caffery’s, while I already had made my choice. At just $11 the beef and Guinness pie represents value for money and, what it lacks in flowery presentation, it make up for in the tasty tucker stakes … I love it. Every now and then I crave meals such as Bangers, Mash and Mushy peas, with a liberal serve of gravy. It is hard to get this dish wrong, but you never seem to be able to get mushy peas right at home. At $10.50 this is one of the best value dinkum pub meals around. Pub grub wouldn’t be the same without a burger on the menu and JB’s own recipe Big Beef Burger hit the spot for one of my colleauges. At $10.50 it comes with the obligatory wedges or chips (not fries) and was well prepared, with tender beef mince of a very high quality.

The atmosphere in both the bar and attached restaurant area is lively and has some soul. There are plenty of talkative punters to converse with in the bar and the restaurant provides you with attentive and helpful service.

There is a relaxed yet lively atmosphere at JB O’Reilly’s and, if you like good beer and good pub grub, then you can’t go past this Irish institution.

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