The Dry Dock

Balmain's The Dry Dock is back over 160 years after it opened — with a classic ground-floor pub, a romantic lounge bar and a cracking 100-seat dining room.
Ben Hansen
Published on March 04, 2024


Two years on from shutting its doors, Balmain's oldest licensed pub The Dry Dock reopened under new owners following an ambitious full-venue transformation. The heritage-listed pub was established back in 1857 and has long been a community cornerstone. In its latest iteration, under the guidance of Peninsula Hospitality's James Ingram and Mike Everett, it's received a stunning makeover — splitting the space into three distinct but equally enjoyable offerings.

The 330-capacity venue includes a classic 90-person front bar complete with screened sports and tap beers; a 120-seat lounge bar full of couches and booths around a fireplace in the centre; and a super sleek 100-seat dining room with its own oyster bar and charcoal grill. And if you have a particularly special group occasion, you can also snatch up a booking in the 14-seat semi-private dining room.

Leading the charge in the kitchen is Head Chef Ben Sitton, who brings with him experience at some of Sydney's top venues including FelixUccello and Rockpool Bar & Grill.

The dining room menu traverses raw seafood, shared plates, salads, pastas, grilled delights and desserts. Do not get this confused with classic pub fare, what's on offer from The Dry Dock kitchen is well and truly a cut above.

You'll be able to cover the table in prawn cocktails, cod croquettes, an exceptional duck liver parfait and roasted peach salad, or order individual mains from the standout selections like The Dry Dock cheeseburger, the excellent roast chicken with pan juices and fries, steak frites, and a superb crumbed port cutlet that will make you permanently shift your position on pork cutlets.

There are also a series of set menus for groups to tackle if they're looking to go big — with the banquets ranging from $75–120 per person. At the top end, the DD Luxe degustation boasts over 15 different dishes including kingfish crudo, the aforementioned chicken, duck ragu orecchiette and an 800-gram Brooklyn Valley rib eye on the bone.

If you're just popping in for a beer or a glass of wine and eschewing a lengthier stint in the dining room, there's a shortened bar menu to browse. Partner your casual drink with oysters, sherry vinegar-glazed peppers or a selection of charcuterie.

While there's plenty of luxury to be found at the venue, it also remains a standard pub at heart. There's plenty of room for walk-ins if you're after a casual pint, and you can bring your four-legged friends with you. Mort Street Park is right next door so you can play fetch before or after your trip to The Dry Dock.


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