As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things we've missed most about Australia is being able to go to the pub for a good meal and some relaxed drinks. I've always loved the look of Sydney's older pubs and decided to paint some of my favourites. I'm going to make this a two part series (or maybe more) because it takes a long time to paint these and I keep thinking of more pubs I like.
Cooper's Hotel, King St Newtown
I have to admit I've never been to the downstairs area at Coopers, we always head straight upstairs to the beautifully re-done bistro area. They basically demolished half the upstairs area but left the facade, so it's created a great walled-in courtyard above King St. They have nice pizzas here and a delicious Angus steak. I don't think the pub name has anything to do with Cooper's beer, but they do serve it so it seems like a good place to enjoy it. Also, Tranny Bingo on Monday nights! (I'm yet to experience that one).
Extremely popular for a good reason. The beer garden with its long tables and big frangipani trees is perfect on a summer afternoon and pretty good in winter too. Although the Courthouse always seems crowded, you can almost always find a table because there are so many different areas to sit. Food is good and the Courty burger is very popular.
he Erko (Erskineville Hotel), Erskineville Rd, Erskineville.
This was a 'new' discovery on this last trip and I'm putting it straight up into the top five. I don't like a lot of fanciness in a pub and the Erko is just the right kind of relaxed environment where it looks like they've made an effort, but you'd never feel underdressed or not cool enough to be there. We also met one of the nicest bouncers I've ever met, who did everything he could to make sure our group got a good place to sit. I haven't tried the food here yet but I've heard good reports.
The Hampshire, Parramatta Rd, Camperdown
I've ended up frequenting the Hampshire because it's a good midway point between our place and my friend's place in Annandale. It's also close to RPA where a couple of our friends work so it's a convenient meeting spot. There's not really anything fancy about the Hampshire but, as you can probably tell by now, that's the kind of place I like. The bartenders are always friendly and it's always quiet enough that you're pretty much guaranteed to win the meat raffle on a Friday night. They also now have a beer trio taster thing where you choose three beers to try and get a pony (a little baby beer glass) of each for $7 - good way to try some of the local beers they have.
Kelly's on King, King St, Newtown
Kelly's is yet another pub that has become a favourite purely by convenience. For three years it was the closest pub to our house so we went there a lot, and still do out of habit. I can't think of any unique redeeming feature apart from the fact that it's open very late and you're quite likely to be the coolest person there.