The last country-style pub left in Sydney is a place of beer and good old-fashioned merriment, with not a cocktail umbrella in sight.
If you want to get yourself a pink pepper martini and some gluten-free tapas you've come to the wrong place, my lad. Get thee up the road and into the bosom of Surry Hills, for the East Sydney Hotel is a proper pub: no nonsense beer, a decent steak and plenty of merriment. And not a cocktail umbrella in sight.
The East Sydney Hotel speaks to what a Sydney pub might have been fifty years or ago, or a hundred years ago for that matter. You can imagine proper men, from the age when men still wore hats and non-ironic moustaches, populating the amiable darkness of the pub and nursing their beers after a hard day. The East Sydney prides itself on being the last proper country-style pub left in Sydney, which has got to be a hard task when you're located between the borders of Surry Hills and Woolloomooloo. (Fun fact: 'Woolloomooloo' is my absolute favourite word to say, and spell, after a few drinks). But they've managed to firmly maintain their integrity, despite the waves of gentrification sweeping in from all sides. A haven from the crowds, the East Sydney has been serving beers since 1924 and after all this time is still a firm favourite of locals, as well as the drifters and transients which flock to that part of the city.
Inside you'll find historically restored dark finishings, wooden floor boards with copper nails, an open fire place and, I kid you not, no pokies at all. Not one. You'd be foolish to drink anything fancier than a beer here and, in keeping with the country-establishment theme, the food conforms to your typical pub-fare expectations: schnitzel, sausages and a decent steak. There's also accommodation upstairs for those who decide they really never want to leave. In summer the outside seating provides respite from the heat when the sea breeze blows in the right direction, and in winter there's no better place to be than adjacent to the old open fire place. The service is friendly, the booths are comfortable and the warmth of the place provides a welcome respite from the storm of activity that carries on in the surrounding streets.
Published on October 07, 2011 by Madeleine Watts