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“Rude, disrespectful owner - beware if you're a tourist!”

Magpie and Stump Hotel
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Magpie and Stump Hotel
Ranked #3 of 4 Mintaro B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 11, 2012

From the moment we spoke to the owner behind the bar, we were given one word responses and not the hint of a smile. We felt like we'd intruded in his house, rather than stepped inside his pub. After placing our orders, we waited a ridiculously long time for our food to arrive. The pub was nearly empty, except for a couple of other diners and a bunch of drinkers at the bar. One lady, who had also waited for over half an hour, checked with the owner as to whether her order was still coming. To this he abruptly replied 'we've got a lot of orders to get through.'

When our meals eventually arrived, my vegetarian friend was served a beef parmigiana, despite having ordered an eggplant parmigiana. My husband and I approached the owner and politely advised that our friend been given the wrong order. He flat out denied that an eggplant parmigiana had been ordered by anyone that day. To this we said 'she's a vegetarian, she definitely wouldn't have said the word 'beef' accidentally - she heard her ask for eggplant. Perhaps the order was written down incorrectly' - to which he replied (ironically, in an angry, argumentative tone), 'listen, I'm not going to argue with you! No one has ordered that today!'

Eventually after much angry ranting, he offered a refund or a replacement. After the already ridiculous wait time, we opted for the refund, which he threw into my hand before storming off. While the rest of us ate our rather ordinary meals, our poor friend went hungry.

We got the impression that immediately upon seeing us enter his pub, this guy summed us up as city people/tourists - a type of patron he clearly hates. Despite writing the wrong order down and clearly being at fault, he immediately treated us like whinging tourists, even though we had very politely pointed out the error. He would not dare admit fault to whiny city folk.

Don't bother going there. Despite being smack in the middle of a heavy tourist route, the Magpie and Stump clearly do not want business from out-of-towners. Let them just rely on the business of the locals, and hopefully they'll soon realise that it doesn't pay to be rude.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Service
9  Thank bluren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 - 24 of 24 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2012

Rude, Rude, Rude! Not an experience I would recommend!

We took our family group of 11 to lunch there today and was absolutely appalled by the owner's rudeness. He told us to sit outside (it was freezing and drizzly) saying there was no room inside. We noted that all tables inside were vacant and remained so apart from a group of 12 that arrived after us. When we lined up to order we were gruffly told that some of the meals on the menu weren't available. Then said "YOu know there will be at least a 50 min wait for ÿour meals." We waited an hour and a half and our kids were beside themselves by then. We asked if we could sit inside again as our meals arrived as the tables were still all vacant and he firstly ummmed and ahhhd then said the tables weren't made up (which they were all set, half even had reserved on them but no-one came at all) and eventually I said the women were all freezing and there were obviously free tables inside so he reluctantly allowed us to move. What an idiot! The waitress complained at every opportunity at how busy she was - quite amazing as no-one else was eating there and the meals were very simple (and ordinary) Our visit to this pub really spoilt our day as Mintaro is such a lovely little town with real character and well worth a day's visit and a stay in one of the beautiful B & B's. The sooner this guy moves on the better - eat at Riley's across the road instead.

Room Tip: Don't visit this Pub go to Riley's across the road and stay at one of the B & B's in...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
3  Thank Karen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2012

I can utterly see why previous reviews have said that the owner / manager of this hotel is unwelcoming - however, my partner and I loved him.

We stayed at a nearby B&B and wandered into this pub. We sat at the front bar and introduced ourselves to the locals. The locals welcomed us due to the fact that we weren't behaving like all the other "snooty city tourists" and because we were genuinely interested in and happy to sit amongst the locals. After a couple of beers, the locals and the owner/manager then proceeded to tell us what they meant by snooty city types... "You watch", they said. "They will walk in here in a group, ignore us totally, sit down in the food lounge and expect table service, despite that large sign clearly stating that they are to order their meals at the bar." Now remember, a small country pub, will have a small number of staff on duty and they will either need to be in the kitchen or behind the bar, hence the ordering at the bar policy.

They then proceeded about the snooty types, "They will walk in here, expect table service, realise that they're not going to get it, stubbornly sit there waiting for service for a while longer and then finally come to the bar to order." Sure enough, a city group walked in and did exactly that.

"Now keep watching", said the manager. "Because they have been out at the wineries all day and have bought wine to drink back at their BnBs, they will only order tap water here." Sure, enough, that is also exactly what happened.

Now you may well think that this sounds very unwelcoming of the owner, however, keep in mind that hotels don't make much their profit from food. They make their money from drinks. So, in the owner's mind, the city tourists are not adding value to his business.

Anyway, we had a meal there (after ordering at the bar), and it was good, honest country pub fare, well cooked and of generous proportions. We then retired back to the bar to join the locals for a couple more beers until closing. We had an absolute ball. So much so, that we avoided our original plan of visiting the wineries the next day and went to the local footy match instead. It had been years since I'd been to a country footy match and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. After the match, we went back again to the hotel for another generous and well enjoyed meal and again stayed until closing. We were even invited back to a local's house afterwards, so we went along and continued a fantastic night with great company there too.

We were made to feel very welcome by both the locals and the owner/manager, simply because we understood that this is one of those few local country pubs that still exists to serve the normal local in the district, instead of forcing out the locals with an upmarket, gentrified, cookie-cutter renovated hotel. Let's be honest, there's more than enough upmarket, gentrified places in the Clare Valley already, and a continuing lessening of places for the locals to feel welcome. It was lovely to be in a pub that has retained its local character and provided a haven for the agricultural community.

So, if you are after a trendy, thinly veiled 'city' experience during your 'break' from the city where you come across even more city people in the wineries having a 'break', and you wish to drink your day's winery purchases in your B&B, then the Magpie & Stump may not be for you. However, if you want to head off to the country for a break, take in the odd winery or two, relax, unwind and remember what REAL people are like, whilst enjoying good honest conversations that don't turn into a thinly disguised competitive environment, and if you also would like to enjoy some genuinely good country pub fare of generous servings, then the Magpie & Stump is definitely the spot to be.

We'll be back - with bells on. We loved it and went back to the city feeling refreshed, happy and like we had genuinely had a decent break from the city - which in reality was why we went in the first place.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Juana L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2012

As we were staying at Reillys Wines Heritage Cottages at picturesque Mintaro (love the stone cottages), wewent for a drink to suss out if we wanted to have dinner there that night. The owner, whilst not a natural host, had a nice long chat with us and after looking at the menu, we decided to dine there. We didn't regret that decision as the portions were really generous. We had the pork chop - 2 huge chops (recommended by the chef herself who also works at one of the celllar doors nearby), and Seafood trip (fish, barramundi scrolls, potato spun prawns, chips). Needless to say, we left with full bellies. For the price we paid, it was great value, especially coming from Perth where prices are at least $5-10 higher per dish than average restaurants around the country.

The place would have been nicer if there were more people dining in, but being in a small town like Mintaro, the catchment area for tourist might be a tad small. But it certainly is th place for locals to meet up and have a beer and watch some sports.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Thank E K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2011

I find that "One Pub Town" hotels can generally be placed in one of two categories. They can go all out with exceptional food & service to make their pub a destination in itself, of which there are many in small South Aussie towns. Or they can simply just go through the motions because there is no other competition in town. Unfortunately, the Magpie & Stump Hotel at Mintaro is firmly placed in the second category!
We arrived on a hot Friday afternoon to spend a romantic anniversary weekend in one of several very nice B 'n B's in historic Mintaro, and walked to the pub for drink. The chap behind the bar who I was later informed is the owner / manager (Smiley, I nick-named him!) never smiled, spoke or welcomed us, just looked at me and I gave my drinks order. As the drinks were poured my wife asked to look at a menu, because we wanted to dine there later that night. Without a word he walked off, came back a minute or so later and plonked the menu on the bar. We decided that we would dine there that evening and my wife asked to make a reservation. Smiley finally talked... "Time?" so we told him. "Name?" again we told him, "How many?" Two. In all that time he spoke four words! There you go - the only pub in a town that relies on tourists, on a Friday afternoon as the weekenders roll in here we were, two obvious out-of-towners that would be staying locally given a "welcome" like that.
We decided to finish our drinks outside under the verandah in what was an inviting looking beer garden with ample benches & chairs to sit at. However, we decided to stand because the chairs were all dusty and cobwebbed.
We returned later that night for dinner, were seated and we ordered our meal. Nothing too difficult, a schitzel and a roast. Yet it took more than 45 minutes for the meals to arrive. My wife said her schnitzel was adequate but my meal was chewy and tasteless. The vegies were ok but nothing sensational. Service from the ladies in the dining room was ok, but I wouldn't go as far as to say friendly.
On our travels around the Clare Valley that weekend we stopped at a number of shops and galleries, all staffed by friendly customer focussed people. When we told them of our experience at the Magpie & Stump they were not at all surprised and told us that many other travellers had told them similar stories.
This pub has the potential to be a real gem in a gorgeous town, but is let down by the lack of any qualtity of service. We plan to return to Mintaro to stay at the same B'nB, but this time, unless we are told of a change of management at the pub, will be a "self catering" weekend.

Footnote: I am not a "serial whinger" - look at my other reviews and you'll find that I compliment good service. In fact, after spending my entire working life in customer service, with the past decade in the hospitality industry, I am well qualified to comment on quality of service, both very good and, in this instance, very poor.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Bigbloke66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Magpie and Stump Hotel

Address: Burra Street, Mintaro, South Australia, Australia
Location: Australia > South Australia > Mintaro
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Mintaro
Also Known As:
Magpie And Stump Hotel Mintaro, South Australia

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