There’s a bustling and diverse pocket within the Sydney suburb of Alexandria where choice is king. It’s something of an odd spot, containing everything from parks and gyms to offices and digital golf; even before you leave the car park, you’ll find your artisanal culinary needs met by the Meat Emporium and Notaras Fish Market.
As of 2022, there’s another venue that looms large, boasting a white neon sign as bold as its name: The Beer Bar. And what you’ll discover when you walk in is that they’ve cranked Alexandria’s choice mentality to 11.
Owner Steve Paull comes from a background in chemistry and brought with him experience in brewing and distilling too. Already worthy of his “Head Beerologist” title, yet keen to enter the craft beer scene on a more permanent basis, he was inspired by a visit to the USA. There, he was struck by the relatively limited selection of beers available in Australian bars compared with the vast selection offered by many venues he enjoyed Stateside.
So, upon returning home with an even greater passion for delivering choice and supporting Australia’s independent breweries, the process that would become The Beer Bar started to take shape, eventually evolving into the 42-tap venue now welcoming beer lovers.
It’s a bright, minimalist space in which soothing greys and light, woody hues give way to several pieces of bespoke artwork on the wall. It’s relaxed and coffee shop-esque in its vibe, making for a refreshing visual shift from the darker, edgier décor that features in many Sydney bars.
Sharing space with the art on the walls are digital menus that span several wall-mounted screens and are colour-coded by beer style. If it’s all a little overwhelming at first, you can always check out their rotating “Mate of the Month”, whereby a brewery gets to showcase their wares across the first five taps.
Speaking of taps, did we mention The Beer Bar has 42 – all pouring something different? If Steve’s dedication to replicating the vastness of choice he so enjoyed in the US has your heart rate on the rise, don’t sweat it: the staff will happily walk you through multiple options based on your personal preferences.
Think of it like a dating app, but with less swiping, more consistent quality, and a friendly personal curator to help you find that perfect match. That said, why choose one when you can have several? This is tasting paddle country, after all.
For those setting out on their first forays outside the world of mainstream beer, there’s clean, breezy pale ales and lagers. For the seasoned hophead, assertive double IPAs should do the trick, or if you’re more of a malt fiend, there's a good chance there will be a big stout or barrel-aged porter to tickle your fancy. Or, if you’re just here to get weird, there’s sure to be a raspberry super sour or double fudge sundae stout to stimulate even the most demanding of palates.
Of course, with great choice comes great responsibility – that of ensuring none of the 42 beers on tap sit around too long and do themselves a disservice. As a result, The Beer Bar team have made a commitment that no single beer will remain in rotation for more than a month, and tell us that proper planning has seen them make it through the vast majority of their stock within those timescales.
They’re also signed up for the Digital Pour app – the first venue in Australia to jump on board, apparently – which means you can check in remotely to see how much of each beer is left via the app's depleting beer keg icons. If you’re seeing red beside your favourite XPA, it’s time to bump a visit to The Beer Bar up your priority list.
Beer fans can also gain further insight by signing up to the Beer Mate’s Club so they’re kept abreast of what’s coming up in next month’s rotation.
If all of this sounds like a haven for hardcore beer geeks, it is, but not at the expense of others. If you’ve got mates who don’t drink beer, the bar stocks a range of Australian spirits and wines subject to the same curation and quality control as the beer.
With so much tasty booze to pick from, you’re likely to want some sustenance along the way too, and that’s where the selection of food trucks comes in. Depending on the day, you could choose from chargrilled Brazilian street food, woodfired pizza or a classic burger. Like the beer taps, the trucks rotate regularly – if not for the fact everything on offer is so delicious, you’d swear the whole ethos was driven by pathological commitment issues…
Just like the wider craft beer community the venue is set up to showcase, The Beer Bar team is keen to foster a community spirit. Apart from supporting local breweries, look out for events such as themed trivia nights. It’s all part of a plan to serve the biggest range of beers while having a blast with friends old and new.
Given the diversity of other businesses occupying this pocket of Alexandria – not to mention breweries in the shape of 2 Halfs, Bracket and Rocks – it makes for a grand day out. And one where you’ll likely want to schedule The Beer Bar as your last stop because the chances are you won’t want to leave in a hurry.