Almanac Pub Review: The Greenman Inn, Ashbourne


The Greenman Inn, Ashbourne. Pic: wikicommons



Often seen as a carved ornamentation on churches, the Green Man motif originated in Sumerian, Mesopotamian, and Byzantine cultures. Nowadays, there are countless British boozers named for The Green Man, and it’s the name of a tranquil Fleurieu pub snuggled between Willunga and Strathalbyn.


We’d never been, and lunch is at noon. Claire’s arranged this, as part of a magnificent day’s excursion.


A roomy bar. It drinks in the golden afternoon light. A moment passes but then the absences announce themselves: no screens, no music, no pokies a-janglin’, no incessant bed of horse-racing babble.


It’s the front bar as traditionally experienced: a place to talk and imbibe and be among others, and this communal quiet can be a rarity. The bombardment upon our ears now equals the manufactured and sustained assault on our eyes.


Outdoors is a verdant municipal park with lawns both broad and uncluttered. There are front, side, and rear verandas, then out the back a paved patio, and finally an elevated expanse next to the remaining wall of a ruin. We could claim any of these painterly places but find our table beneath a tree. At once it’s a private room and offering a panorama of the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges.


The Greenman’s an acoustic haven.


Pub lunch menu. Lovely. Here we go. Order burger. Easy. But it comes with both pineapple and beetroot.


And here’s my reaction to this.


In recent years I’ve increasing affection for beetroot and decreasing tolerance for pineapple. I think these are connected. Although, the latter is cultural not epicurean with a possible factor being the PM absconding to Hawaii that summer as his country burnt. Beetroot and pineapple can’t cohabitate, so I ask for the omission of Golden Circle’s finest (alleged) fruit ring.


Of course, everything’s a political determination, especially the purposeful denial of pineapple.


Behind us is a soccer pitch-sized carpark. In a triumph of gravelly multi-tasking, it’s shared by the pub and Eastern Fleurieu School (enrolment: 26 pupils). This utilitarian concept continues to the north where pine trees guard the community church. Nearby is a table tennis club (meeting most Tuesdays). Leather clad and genderless motorcyclists stop by the road-side stall which with quiet trust offers:


Roses- $5

Flowers- $2

Plants- $2.


Our lunch is unhurried, as all lunches should be. Other diners drift by and smear our green palette with denim and cheesecloth. The fire truck roars past like a throaty, lumbering quadruped. A quarter hour later it returns. I wonder about the causative combustion, once errant, now extinguished.


While neither Claire nor I love our meals the context compensates. For me lunch is only ever vaguely concerned with food; it’s simply a pretext to conversation. A plate of high-end grub (read: microscopic morsels with daubed jus) reveals me as akin to a Eurovision-enthusiast studying musicology at Oxbridge.


With the necessity of a second beer, I move from birdsong to bar and the auditory momentum is unbroken. A component of any lunching encounter, today’s musical score is sublime, a marriage of nature and sympathetic human murmuring. Walking back to Claire and our table, I take in the garden scenery, pleased that my footfalls are silent upon the compliant grass.


A wealth of compulsions can take us to the pub and once there, assorted attractions might bewitch and keep us. At the Greenman Inn in Ashbourne it’s the aural sanctuary.


Treat your ears soon.



Read more from Mickey Randall HERE.



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


About Mickey Randall

Now whip it into shape/ Shape it up, get straight/ Go forward, move ahead/ Try to detect it, it's not too late/ To whip it, whip it good


  1. Stone Cold Steve Baker says

    Hear, Hear Mickey!

    As a committed punter, I’m not sure that I agree about the lack of an “incessant bed of horse-racing babble,” but I’m a firm believer that pineapple doesn’t belong in burgers.

    Up the Bays!

  2. SCSB- Like you I love a punt but reckon it’s great to occasionally enjoy a pub holiday! Glad you’re on board with my #nopineapple campaign. It’s as good a platform as any.

    Bays open their season with a home fixture against Norwood. Always a great afternoon and given the significant player movement that’s an annual event it’ll be interesting although we’ve kept a pretty solid core.

    Thanks fella.

  3. Looks and sounds like a place where I could have a really good session

  4. Not a wide range of tap beer Smokie, but as we know, there’s always a solution!

  5. Looks a beautiful spot. On the road to nowhere – which is obviously part of the attraction. Having traversed the old home state many times, I reckon I’ve only been through Ashbourne once in the 1970’s. A mate (fellow desperate) studied the RAA map as thoroughly as he studied the form guide and announced “we’ve got plenty of time – we’ll take the scenic route to Strath races”. After the Ashbourne turnoff it was hilly, windy and mostly gravel back then. “Never again” we said (Strath races always had that affect on me – but sadly I only stuck with it regarding mode of transport).
    Looking at Google Maps I see that Mount Magnificent and Dingabledinga are in the vicinity. I await your reports.

  6. Thanks PB.

    It’s a fetching place all round. Following the pub we went to the Ashbourne Cricket Club (more on this soon) and in a twist are looking to book a winter escape staying in Dingabledinga because of the proximity to McLaren Vale. Am yet to get to the Strath races but there’s always a possibility that my sister and brother-in-law’s horses might run there…

Leave a Comment