The modern township of Sydney was founded by Spanish septuagenarian, Juan Antonio Samaranch, on September 24, 1993. In the couple of decades since, Sydney has grown into a multicultural world city with at least seven pubs, a few places with an actual internet connection and at least one Daddo brother!
The combination of quaint old world charm, iconic public transportation and natural beauty combine to create the kind of Crafty Crawl for which your grandma would give up watching A Current Affair and monarchism to enjoy.
Join Judd Owen as he makes his way from Manly to The Rocks on the first Crawl to feature water-based transport.
Stop One: 4 Pines Brew Pub/Underground
One of the largest independent breweries in the country and the winner of approximately 12,000 accolades is a pretty bloody good place to start a pub crawl. 4 Pines has been pouring beer in its brewpub overlooking the Manly ferry terminal since 2008. In late 2016, they opened the slightly more formal Underground directly underneath.
At both venues you can grab the familiar core range or try a number of fresh small batch beers often direct from the brite tanks. There’s quality pub food and even daily brewery tours if you time your visit well. The proximity to the ferry terminal may very well come in handy on your way back to the Big Smoke after stop three.
Stop Two: New Brighton Hotel
Situated on the eastern end of The Corso at Manly is the venerable four storey New Brighton Hotel. From the ground floor it looks like a typical run of the mill supermarket pub, but make your way upstairs to the 33 Degrees bar, where you’ll find, to your delight, 14 taps of predominantly local craft beer.
If you can set up shop on what is possibly the best balcony in Manly, you’ll be rewarded with some excellent beer, views of nearby Manly Beach and some of the best people-watching you’re ever likely to experience. Ripped hunks, rapidly combusting tourists, cute little dogs, roving gangs of disaffected youths, wizened crones - Manly has the lot!
Stop Three: Sunkissed Bar & Grill
Just around the corner on the beachfront is the most unconventionally good venue on this crawl - the Sunkissed Bar and Grill. If there wasn’t a sandwich board out the front boasting its commitment to craft beer, you’d have absolutely no reason to suspect there’s 18 taps of excellent Australian beer within.
Despite the fact the seemingly everyone else in the venue is drinking Corona, you might get to sup the likes of Modus Operandi, Akasha, Riverside and even some Feral rarities. The place is massive so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting a table, and the menu is loaded up with steak, seafood and pizza so there’s options for something substantial before you make your way back into town for the second leg of this Crafty Crawl.
This is the point where you’re hopping on the ferry back to Circular Quay. Many people opt to hang around the windows for the half hour cruise hoping to get that perfect shot of the seal that lives on the steps of the Opera House which is a perfectly fine way to spend your time. For the more seasoned traveller, however, the ferry ride is an almost perfect time and place for a 20 minute powernap after several hours of sun and beer.
Step Four: The Endeavour Tap Rooms
From the ferry terminal at Circular Quay, it’s a five minute walk past the Museum of Contemporary Art and up Argyle Street to the newest kid on the block, the Endeavour Tap Rooms. The heritage listed building once housed Seaman’s Hotel for most the last century or so.
It’s since been transformed into a brewpub featuring a 600 litre brewhouse and a hybrid Australian/American barbecue restaurant serving up crispy pork hocks with black vinegar chilli just like the early colonial settlers used to make. It really is quite a beautiful pub and likely to be extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.
Stop Five: The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
Continue up Argyle Street through the historic Rocks area to one of the true pilgrimage locations for Australian beer, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel has stood on the corner of Kent and Argyle Streets for nigh on 176 years. If that wasn’t reason enough to callin, there’s been an on-site brewery producing all the beer served over the bar for the past 30 years.
The English style ales make a pleasant change to the dank IPAs and fruit sours that you’ve probably been guzzling until this point. A pint or two of Victory Bitter and a pork pie inside the sandstone shrine of the Lord is truly one of life’s great pleasures.
Stop Six: The Australian Heritage Hotel
There’s a few stairs involved in getting up to the Australian Heritage Hotel, but it’s worth it. The Aussie has been sitting prominently on Cumberland Street for 100-odd years and is probably most well known for the annual Beer Fest which has been held there since 2004 and putting the coat of arms and crocodile on a pizza.
There’s 25 Australian-only taps including beers from the big brewers and a range of locals and a fairly extensive beer fridge to choose from. Please don’t forget to look down when you’re inside otherwise you might miss one of the best pub carpets on the planet.
Once you’ve had your fill of marsupial and melted cheese, it’s time to make the five minute jaunt to our last venue for today.
Stop Seven: Harts Pub
Harts Pub seems like the last bastion of colonial Sydney before the skyscrapers start to dominate the architecture. Originally a private residence and now the home away from home for Rocks Brewing Co, Harts offers plenty of cosy nooks in which one can secrete oneself and a beer garden upstairs out the back if you’ve just about had your fill of Edwardian buildings for one afternoon.
The 12 taps include The Rocks core range and seasonals, plus a rotating list of Australian and international craft beer just to keep things a bit spicy. The menu includes convenient beer matching recommendations for those still gagging for a good burger or steak before the completion of this Crafty Crawl.
About the author: Judd Owen is a former zygote and Brisbanite who spends entirely too much time thinking about beer. He also runs the 14th best MS Paint based beer blog in the country: Brewed, Crude and Bitter.