The Forest Lodge Hotel – or Flodge as it’s more affectionally and commonly known – is a pub that falls happily into two of our favourite categories of craft beer venue. First up, it’s as good an example as you’ll find of a pub with a less than salubrious past that has reinvented itself rather gloriously – in no small part due to a decision to turn to craft beer. And, secondly, it falls into the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” category too.
Approach the Flodge from St Johns Road and there’s little to hint at the delights that lie within the rather nondescript, red brick block that it calls home until you’re almost past it. Yet inside, where once there was a hangout for local booze hounds seeking cheap, cold schooners, now you’ll find a colourful multifaceted joint offering one of the best beer selections in the city and highly rated food.
The change on the beer front started slowly then accelerated from 2013; now you’ll find 12 taps pouring a selection of predominantly New South Wales brewed craft beers – many of them rotating regularly. If the choice is too much, you can line up four of them at any time in the form of a tasting paddle.
In the refurbished front bar, classic beer memorabilia and fittings from the old days mingle with bright new additions, while out back you’ll find pinball and pool in a room decorated with a giant Murray’s mural and classic film posters. The dining room, with its tall, cantilevered roof, and smoking area are similarly colourfully decorated: plants have a neon glow; lanterns and bunting hang overhead and line the walls. Like we said, never judge a book by its cover.
The food is top quality pub grub, with its range of burgers particularly highly fancied, while the wine list also focuses on small local producers and they’re happy to welcome families with kids through the door. With Sydney Uni across the road, they’re introducing the new generation of beer drinkers to the good stuff too. Add in weekly trivia, sports on widescreen TVs, table tennis and meat raffles and it’s easy to see why many now rate it the best pub in Glebe.