The award-winning pub putting Albury on the map

Public House Albury is an award-winning pub committed to excellent customer service, good vibes, and doing things just a little bit differently. Taking time out from the kitchen pass on a weekday afternoon, owner Jodie Tiernan chatted with us about their famous cocktail trees, the ever-changing facade, and what goes into running a successful, award-winning pub.

It’s easy to see why this Albury venue took home the 2023 AHA NSW Awards for Excellence – Best Marketing Activity, beating some of the biggest names in NSW, including the highly commended Coogee Bay Hotel.

Public House is hard to miss, with an ever-changing front facade, taking inspiration from the current holiday or season to the Instagram-worthy cocktail trees and cocktail advent calendars, this Albury icon is punching well above its weight. From a renovation and rebrand in 2016/2017 to navigating the uncertain times during Covid, Public House has gone from strength to strength.

International inspiration sparks an Australian first

Owner Jodie Tiernan is a big believer in living true to the ideals of exceptional customer service and doing things outside the box.

The signature cocktail trees are one of those crazy ideas that took hold. Public House was the first Australian venue to offer them, introducing them during the tumultuous Covid lockdowns.

“I’d gone back to England in 2019 and got the cocktail tree idea. We were able to implement them right after the first lockdown, so they became a big hit,” Jodie said.

Jodie has an extensive background in hospitality, both in Australia and overseas, which she uses as inspiration for everything from the cocktails – there are about 50 – on the menu to how she runs the business. Before cutting her teeth in London pubs, Jodie attended Albury High and learned how to pour a beer behind the bar of Sodens.

“I went to the UK and landed a job at the Holiday Inn near Harrods. I learned cocktails there, which weren’t really a thing yet back in the day. I would travel around Europe for a bit and then go back and work before becoming a licensee managing pubs.”

After returning to Australia, Jodie “worked in a million different pubs” in Syndey before moving back to Albury, where she spent some time as CEO of The Carevan Foundation.

“I absolutely loved it. You just wanted to save every single kid and homeless person, and I was so passionate about it,” she said.

A return to Albury

But a return to hospitality beckoned, and she began working for Armada Hospitality, which owned a number of venues in Albury, including Public House precursor, Groove Saint. When the opportunity to buy in arose, she joined the team behind the next iteration, Soho Albury.

“I was running Paddy’s at the time and came down here. We kept Soho open until Christmas of 2016 and reopened it as Public House in May 2017.”

In 2019, she bought her business partners out and now has complete creative control over all aspects of the business – along with the support of her family, who are all heavily involved in the business.

“Hubby (Chris Towner) works in the kitchen, and my daughter works here on weekends, so it’s nice being surrounded by family because in hospo you’re always working weekends.

“I always try to think outside the square. I tried to identify what Albury needs. I wanted to make a funky, nice bar that everyone is welcome to come to.”

Customer service, first and foremost

As a self-proclaimed stickler for customer service, Jodie has instilled the importance of consistency in the food and drinks they serve and going the extra mile to make customers feel welcome.

“If we’re really busy and can’t get to a customer straight away, look them in the eyes and say, ‘I’ll be with you in just a moment.’ And the same goes for delivering a meal; go back and check because if something’s wrong, we can fix it on the spot.”

The attention to customer service and old-school approach to how patrons order food and drinks – no on-table ordering via an app here – are part of what makes Public House the success that it is.

“I won’t do order your own meals at the table. Come up and meet us. That way, we get to know you because you don’t get that a lot these days. We know the people who want to talk and the people who don’t want to talk. We know the people who want to come in for a beer and a chat, and it’s a nice local pub for a lot of people.”

Bookings are made over the phone or via email, so customers can book a table of 10 or 20 for whatever configuration they need, with a personal touch every step of the way.

Even with a 5am license, Jodie doesn’t operate past midnight, and there are no pokie machines. She’s a strong believer in creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and can enjoy quality food and drinks, no matter the time of day.

Made with love

Quality customer service isn’t the only thing on offer. When you order from the Public House menu, you get food and beverages made with love and only the best ingredients.

“We juice our own limes, we juice our own lemons, we do our own egg whites. Everything is made with love. We don’t cheapen our brand by cutting corners.”

Functions and events, as well as a daily happy hour, are also a big part of the business. With two-for-one pizzas every Thursday, Mini Martini Wednesday, and a generous drinks menu, there’s always something happening at Public House.

As for what’s next for Public House, Jodie says we’ll have to wait and see. There is a cocktail book in the works that will be released next year. It will include all the signature cocktails on their menu and the story behind them, including the family members they are each named after.

Public House is open five days a week, and you can book through the form on their website, emailing or call 020 6023 5851. Find them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with what’s new.

Jodie - Public House

Image source: Supplied

Public House cocktail tree

Image source: Facebook

Public House pizza

Image source: Facebook