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“Enjoyable feed with nice decor”

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Shenanigans at The Imperial
Ranked #11 of 16 Maitland B&B and Inns
Reviewed January 15, 2013

I ate here in January 2013, had the Mezze plate as an entree. It was huge (A$10) had 4 dips, olives, marinated fetta & loads of freshly cooked turkish bread. Vert tasty. For main had their specialty for past 17 years (according to the menu) the chicken supreme (I think), about $22 with potatoes & veg. Absolutely huge, i could not finish it.
The beer (although not a great range on tap) was icy cold and delicious. Cosy little rooms everywhere and a nice deck out the back with glimpses of the Hunter River. Although I only rated it 3, if in town again, this is where I would be heading. Oh and it's spotlessly clean, even the bathrooms.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded January 19, 2013

Thanks for the review and your kind words.
The main course you had was Imperial Chicken, and yes, it has been our best seller for 17 years, which will be 18 later this year. It is very popular!
Glad you liked the decor and I hope the service was good as well.
As for the beers...we simply can't mange any more than the 13 we already have. As an ex Brewery Rep, I am very conscious of the old adage:"Fresh Beer is Best Beer", and so, if a beer doesn't turnover at better than a keg a week, then it isn't kept on tap.
Thanks again for your review. We hope to see you again next time you are in Maitland.

Mike

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38 - 44 of 46 reviews

Reviewed January 11, 2013

To be fair the service was good. I listed this pub for a meal with my daughter in a pram with another mother with Bub and pram. As soon as we walked in the door we were escorted to the 'family room' up some stairs with our prams , because we had children. The policy was outlined on a laminated piece of paper in our table about keeping our children 'in check'. I can appreciate that I should take responsiblity for my child but I did feel a tad annoyed. The food was average to terrible. If you have a sniztel or steak you'll be ok, my pasta was soaked in warm cream, which was supposed to be sauce. Finally if they have a specified family room, there are no facilities for changing your Bub. Did not feel that welcome.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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2  Thank sincshel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2013

I'm extremely sorry that you didn't find much to like about my pub.
The room that you sat in is not a "Family Room" as you described it, but actually what we call the Party Room for group bookings. The reasons we choose to seat people with babies in there are as follows:
*we aren't permitted to block walkways in other rooms with prams and high chairs because the disabled are then disadvantaged.
*the Party Room works well for kids as it allows them to be a little loud, as they often will be, without creating undue discomfort for adult diners, some of whom may well have come to Shenanigans for a night away from their own children.
As for the notice explaining our position on children, as I state in the notice, we are a pub and pubs are ostensibly for adults. Many parents take the opportunity to let their kids run riot when they are out. I realise this may not be you, but we aren't to know that, so we adopt our policy, which once again works well for adults dining without children, while most families like the fact that they too can relax a little in the Party Room, away from the main pub areas. In fact, the majority of our family regulars request that area.

We used to have a change table, but removed it when we found that we were forever cleaning up after Mothers who obviously weren't as caring and hygenic as you.
We aslo noted that there were council operated toilets in Maitland that didn't have change rooms, so I'm not sure why a pub, built in the 19th century, should be expected to have one.

As for the food...what can I say, other than refer to my closing sentence. We serve over 1200 meals per week. We don't ever expect that everyone is going to like everything we sell. We do however, give of our best and we continue to trade well generally, except for holiday months (January), so will continue down the path that we have chosen.

Finally, I fully realise we can't be everything to everyone, but we definitely try to do the best with what we've got, and again, I am truly sorry that you didn't enjoy what we offer.

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Reviewed August 3, 2012

I found myself having to stay at this place and I won't make the same mistake. The rooms are small and it is a noisy place. The service from the staff was gruff and the food is over priced for the poor quality that arrives on the table. I thought Irish pubs were happy welcoming places, well not this one.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tina L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

My sincere apologies for the fact that you didn't enjoy your stay at Shenanigans. I am at a loss to understand what made it such a bad night for you.
Noise, apart from noise that occurs outside the building, which we can't control, has never been an issue, as you can see from the other reviews. I am just so sad that you didn't enjoy your stay, and that you rated us so poorly.
I realise that as a pub (designed and built in the late 1800's) we aren't going to appeal to everyone, but, it is what it is, and it's relatively cheap, and spotlessly clean, with quite a few mod cons (air con and flat screen TV's).
As for the "Irish welcome", I guess you get what you give out.
Sorry that you didn't find much to like.

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Reviewed May 27, 2012

It's a long story, but I ended up in Maitland by mistake, a solo Silver Nomad Brit, on what proved to be NSW's wettest day for years. It was a bit of a shock to arrive in Maitland when I had expected to arrive at the "gateway" (as I saw it described somewhere) to the beautiful winelands of the Hunter Valley. To set the scene, Maitland was like a one horse town without the horse. When the rain eventually stopped I took a walk by the river and was treated and was treated to one of the most comprehensive displays of Graffiti I have ever seen.
Feeling a little bit disappointed, I checked in at Shenanigans. I wouldn't say the initial reception was over-welcoming but I put that down to a cultural difference between Oz and UK. The room was fairly basic but recently renovated and was clean and quite comfortable, the bed especially so. A little imagination with the colour scheme could have turned it into a very attractive room but the interior designer obviously spent a few years in Cell Block H .
The bathrooms were shared but I have rarely seen better bathroom facilities anywhere, even in the en suites of five star hotels...absolutely superb. And so to the pub.......
Happy hour was round about four or five o'clock, it was still wet outside, I had explored every corner of Maitland and the one horse was still absent. So far I had only seen about two people out on the streets of Maitland all afternoon. What else to do but have a beer or two ? The pub was quiet, a few after work drinkers and a couple of miners on days off...and me. "Could be a long night", I thought. I didn't seem to be attracting any eye contact with the bar staff or other drinkers and it was a bit similar to my original reception when I checked in. As I had found elsewhere in Oz, it was up to me to break the ice and, once I did, everyone was my friend and I had a really good friendly evening with the other drinkers and the barmaid was great, too.
I stretched the evening out and had a meal. I'm a chef myself so tend to be a bit critical. I had a Beef Bourgignon Pie. It wasn't what I would call Beef Bourgignon and, to me, a pie is something that is baked with its lid on rather than having a triangle of pastry put on top afterwards BUT, that aside, it was delicious.
Breakfast was a "help yourself" setup in a little kitchen upstairs which was handy as you could grab a slice of toast and a coffee at any time. There was plenty of yogurt, cereal, toast, juice etc.
As a visitor from UK, all the hotels seemed very expensive and I would say that Shenanigans was definitely very good value for money. I'm not too sure that I would put Maitland on my visiting list on future trips but If I ended up in Maitland, I would definitely stay at Shenanigans.
Apart from all the tick boxes for these reviews, hotels always have a "feelgood" or "feelbad" factor. Shenanigans definitely has the "feelgood" factor.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank compost51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded June 2, 2012

I am so peased that your stay eventually finished up turning out ok. I am sorry that you found my bar attendant and our customers initially unreceptive. It was however gratifying that all was good once the ice melted. I guess it is the way of things. Apart from a very few exceptions, I have found things a bit cool to start with in places that I have stayed during my travels, even in Ireland! And even in the pubs...especially in Dublin, and particularly in England.
As for Maitland on a wet day...I know what you mean, but the weather does tend to keep folks indoors. If the weather had been a touch kinder, there is actually quite a bit to see in the area. I am sorry you missed it all.
That said, I am glad that you generally enjoyed our pub and I thank you for the feedback.

Kind regards,

Mike Thomas

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Reviewed April 24, 2012

Rooms are a little small but they are clean and services each day.
The bistro is a little overpriced and the daily specials are limited. The food is slightly better than average.
There are shared facilities and these are brand new and very clean, cannot fault them.

  • Stayed: April 2012
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3  Thank Paul A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Thanks for your review.
Some of our rooms are a "touch small", but it is a problem when you are dealing with a pub constructed in the 19th century, and you are wanting to "deliver" in the 21st!
All that aside, I am glad you appreciated the cleanliness and the daily servicing.
As for the bistro, at an average price of $19, I wouldn't have thought it too dear. Sure there are dearer meals, but it costs us the same money to put food on the table as a 5 star restaurant, and we pay the same wages as a 5 star restaurant. I'm not altogether sure why people expect pubs to give food away, but we are comfortable with what we do and what we charge, We serve 10 lunch specials for $10 each, and have night specials ranging from $10.90 to $13.90. Not sure what else we can do.
Thanks again, and hope you come back to Shenanigans.

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Reviewed March 21, 2012

Unexpectedly finding myself in Maitland and needing to stay the night but not wanting it to cost a fortune the Visitors Information Centre suggested that I try Shenanigans (a Pub with shared facilities). "Oh God" I thought, another 'grotty' old men's pub with disgusting facilities.
Boy was I surprised! A lovely old heritage building with many original features formerly called the Imperial. I could take or leave the current Irish theme (however it was the nicest pub in town that I saw anyway) but it was quaint. Lovely open-air verandah at the back overlooking the river was a redeeming feature. The restaurant looked nice. The Hotels best features by far though were it's newly renovated rooms ( with A/C & Flat screen Tv's) and its superb (shared) bathroom facilities that were also 'brand spanking new'. Modern, clean... a joy to use. Better than I've got at home. I found it strange though that the Hotel management had decided to ban alcohol in the pub room accommodation. Yep, you coudn't drink in your room whilst staying in a Hotel. What is this...the 'dark ages' or something? So may I suggest that if you decide to stay at this particular establishment that you 'belly-up' to the bar before you go to bed, lest it be a 'dry night'. Cheers!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Graeme J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2012

Hi there. Thanks for your review of Shenanigans.
I have responded to your review in the pas, but Trip Advisor says that I haven't, so here's another one.
The reason for the "no alcohol in rooms policy" is because if we give an inch, some people will take a mile. So, by adopting our policy, we hope to provide peace and quiet for guests. No other reason, that's it, plain and simple.
Glad you liked most of what you saw and hope you understand our decision.

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Reviewed January 20, 2012

Friends of mine had recommended a pub to try out in Maitland which they had dinner at afew weeks back, Shenanigans Imperial has to be the BEST place my family and i have ever eaten at in the Newcastle/Maitland Area! Great atmosphere, really friendly staff and i cant say ENOUGH ABOUT THE FOOD! Unlike other pubs/restaurants that my family and friends have eaten at, somehow the meals at Shenanigans that were served out to us were super fresh, super delicious and they came out super fast too, and the place was PACKED! We didnt have to wait long at all! Please pass along 3 cheers to the Head Chef incharge of running the kitchen! Our money was well spent and we will DEFINANTLY BE BACK AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! CHEERS GUYS! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND THE GREAT FOOD!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank stacey d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mike T, Owner at Shenanigans at The Imperial, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2012

Thanks for your review of our food and bistro. So pleased you enjoyed the experience.It's always gratifying to know that we have some fans out there! I will certainly pass your comments onto our Bistro Manager Julie, Head Chef Dee and the rest of the crew. Thanks again...appreciate it!

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Additional Information about Shenanigans at The Imperial

Address: 458 High St, Maitland, New South Wales 2320, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Maitland
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 16 B&Bs / Inns in Maitland
Price Range: $75 - $83 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Shenanigans at The Imperial 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shenanigans at The Imperial is a family operated, Irish themed Pub with 14 non ensuite, non smoking rooms over 2 floors, a 7 day a week bar and bistro on the ground floor,and is located in the lower Hunter Valley of NSW, Australia. Special discounted rates for two or more nights are available, including a weekly rate of AUD350.00 for a single person and AUD470 for two people sharing. The pub has a great bistro serving local produce for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, including lunch and dinner specials from around AUD10. The rooms are extremely clean and comfortable, all with reverse cycle air conditioning and flat screen television, and the setting is quiet and comfortable. Management does not permit smoking, the consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs on the two accommodation levels. A self serve light breakfast of tea/coffee, toast, cereal and orange juice is included in the tariff. A laundry service is offered at competitive rates. The first pub on the current site The Birmingham House, dates back to 1851. The City of Maitland is historically significant, being first settled in the very early 1800's and provides the perfect base for day trips to the arts and crafts village of Morpeth, the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, and the mountains of the Barringtons. Maitland is also just 30 minutes from the best beaches Australia's east coast has to offer and only 2 hours from the bright lights of Sydney. The Irish decor of Shenanigans is a perfect example of Dublin-designed Guinness theme pubs, and well worth the visit alone. ... more   less 
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Shenanigans At The Imperial Maitland, Greater Newcastle

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