Gateway to Gippsland: Bringing Robin Hood Inn Back to Life

Bringing life back to the Iconic Robin Hood Inn GATEWAY TO GIPPSLAND

The Robin Hood Inn, located in Drouin West, is considered to be the Gateway to Gippsland. John Magner and his family are on a mission to bring it back to its iconic best.

Built in the 1870’s, The Robin Hood Inn is the oldest pub in the Gippsland area. Seen as the gateway between Melbourne and Traralgon, it has undergone many faces, and with so much character this pub deserves to be back on the map. John Magner, a wonderfully passionate Irishman, has made this his mission.

Bringing life back to the Iconic Robin Hood Inn GATEWAY TO GIPPSLAND
Bringing life back to the Iconic Robin Hood Inn GATEWAY TO GIPPSLAND
Bringing life back to the Iconic Robin Hood Inn GATEWAY TO GIPPSLAND

After 23 years of patronage, John decided to purchase the Robin Hood Inn in September 2019 and in just 5 months has already proven that he has what it takes to bring life back to this pub. When he took over, the pub was a mess and improvements have already been made. Ten freshly renovated, hotel rooms are almost completed, and the front has undergone a facelift. They have also put in a new kitchen and created a beer garden out the back. Further plans include a self-contained bar in the beer garden as well as a kids’ playground.

“We have already tripled our turnover since September, and that is just by word of mouth. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are already extremely busy.”

Everything has been thought of with the customer in mind, including a courtesy bus for the locals. Even the picket fence that surrounds the front of the pub has an extra wide top so that patrons have a place to put their drinks down and lean against while chatting away with their friends.

The food is delicious, with Will the chef coming on board. Will has 15 years’ experience in the food industry, including working for Ascot Food Store for 3½ years.

Will is proud of all their beef dishes. The beef is all Grass Feed Tarago Beef which is supplied by John’s very own farm, situated just behind the pub.

“The steak here is brilliant,” John proudly shares.

Everything is also made on site, rather than buying premade products.

“Gippsland has some of the nicest produce in Australia, and it’s been feeding Melbourne for years,” Will shares.

With regards to the menu, Will goes on to say,

“We are trying to find a balance between keeping our locals happy and also trying to attract some fresher faces from around the district and Melbourne itself. We want wholesome food that everyone can enjoy. We use local produce where we can and make everything fresh.”They are looking to relaunch a larger menu over the coming months, including more delicious meals for vegetarians and vegans to cater for everyone.

And of course, with a good meal, you also want a great wine. Laura, the pub’s manager, has many years’ experience including previously managing The Independent Restaurant in Gembrook for 5 years.

“Our wine list is quite impressive with a beautiful selection of both whites and reds. Most wines are local. The Shiraz is sourced from Jason Ong, One Block Wines in Mount Burnett. He creates awesome wines that are unfiltered with no nasties. We also have interesting wines from Lightfoot and Sons who are Gippsland based.”

Laura has also introduced cocktails to the pub and is looking to create a signature cocktail.

Over the coming months, the Robin Hood Inn will be opening their own bottle shop to support both the pub and locals and a General Store which will serve coffee and cake as well as service the rooms.

The Robin Hood Inn is definitely worth the drive for the lovely food, exquisite wine and friendly atmosphere.

ROBIN HOOD INN 655 Princes Way, Drouin West Victoria
Phone 03 5625 4884 or visit