Well, you have to be pretty good to locate yourself down a sand road in Muldersdrift, and still draw the people to you in great numbers. It also helps to be a warm and charismatic character, with more than a touch of the blarney. This is Stephen Gilroy, described as a ‘Liverpool-bred, pipe-smoking Santa-lookalike.’ He seems to enjoy nothing more than moving amongst the tables, greeting old friends and making new ones, as he shares a joke, a laugh and a chat, washed down with a friendly glass of his own brew.
Having spent over seven years looking for the right site, this was the one they decided on –and it does seem to have been a happy choice. Situated on the verge of the Ngwenya Glass Village, with the Shades of Ngwenya glass blowing factory and shop as the central feature, it has a lovely quiet country atmosphere around it. Besides a children’s playground, there are about twelve shops there, housed in attractive, small, cottages. Some are very predictable to us locals – but I did enjoy the newly opened Art and Crafts Gallery. They displayed attractive and interesting paintings together with a good selection of handcrafted items. The ladies in our group enjoyed a sign which said, “If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen!” I didn’t see what was funny about it!
The main drawcard is undoubtedly the Gilroy brewery, pub and restaurant. Fortunately, we had booked in advance for our Sunday lunch as it was full. Families and groups of friends sat under the umbrellas in the garden area, enjoyed their drinks, the well-prepared meals, mine host, the music and their own company. It was a relaxed and very happy time, with nobody in a hurry to leave.
There are four Gilroy beers on offer – Gilroy Lager, Gilroy Favourite, Gilroy Traditional and Gilroy Serious. As you would imagine Gilroy Serious has the highest alcohol content, and is the most highly rated of the four. One beer connoisseur reportedly voted Gilroy’s “the finest beer in the southern hemisphere.” At the moment they might not dent the market share of SAB but, judging also by the responses of the people around us, they are very popular. We enjoyed our ‘samples.’ You can buy some to take away with you. They would make an interesting topic of conversation with guests.
There is a good and varied menu which includes old favourites like English style beer battered Fish and Chips, and Traditional Bangers and Mash. Two of us had the English style Pies – mine was a delicious and tender Lamb Pie with a crisp and flaky crust. Another dish that was particularly enjoyed was a Chicken and Vegetable Wrap with salad. And for those to whom these things are also important, the chips were great! The service was good, and the staff did very well with the large number of people.
Placed as it is just off Beyers Naude Drive, and about 3 kilometres beyond Garden World, it is very accessible, particularly on a Sunday. It is wise to book, whenever you think of visiting it, as its popularity is assured. If the weather turns against you there is some undercover seating, but it would be good to check first.
Well done Steve Gilroy – it is delightfully different, with a great atmosphere, good food and (of course) the beer!
The website is worth a visit, and includes a map and operating times.