UPDATE JANUARY 23, 2017: Because they're legends, the Newtown Hotel is doing $2 pizzas every day from 12–2pm and 5–7pm until February 28. Yep, $2. They'll have 13 pizzas on offer, and you can make it gluten free or vegan for an extra $2. Find more details on their Facebook page.
Sydney's Newtown Hotel is back after a year of refurbishments, and it hasn't forgotten its roots. Still standing in the original 130-year-old building on King Street, the place hasn't just received a new lick of paint, it's been totally revitalised.
The pub oozes Newtown; from local street artists' art adorning the walls, to the cinema on the second floor, which shows indie flicks during the week. And how about the huge Michael Jackson hand hanging over the main stage?
You may remember the pop-up bar Freaky Tiki, which operated in the hotel before the refurbishment. Well, the Tiki is well and truly alive, with cocktails from the former bar that scream rock and roll.
Drinks wise? Try the Janis Joplin, chamomile tea-infused Jack Daniels, white crème de cacao, Cointreau and lemon ($16), or go for the cheekily-named Keith Richards Coconut Incident, a combo of Lairds Applejack, coconut, lemon and blue Curacao ($18). Both are excellent. The beer and wine lists also offer plenty of choice. For hops enthusiasts, try the Mort Subite Xtreme Cherry Kriek from Belgium. All of the wines on tap are good, especially the 2010 chardonnay from the Yarra Valley.
Outside is another bar area which is perfect during the summer when the sun is out and the retractable roof ensures drinkers won't have to rush inside when it pours.
If you're hungry, head upstairs to the hotel's bistro, dubbed 'The Animal'. It's got plenty of bark with a menu featuring Greek influences, which recognises the many Greeks who migrated to Newtown. The kitchen is complete with a whole animal on the spit and table service is offered, but those closer to the bar will have to order there. If you're keen for something to nibble on with your drink, try the mint and lemon grilled haloumi or the grilled WA scallops with baby onions, red wine, cinnamon and capers. For something more substantial, order the wood-roasted suckling lamb rubbed with lemon, garlic and bay leaf .
Oh, and least we forget the balcony. It's perfect to watch the colourful characters of Newtown pass by. Newtown Hotel is a bold reintroduction into busy King Street, and is the 'local' that Newtown so desperately needed.