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Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe

Not Rated.
Redoak Boutique Beer CafeRedoak Boutique Beer Cafe
BEER AVG
3.62/5
Based on:
22 Beers
162 Ratings
Place Score: 94
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.62%
Taps: 10
Bottles: 12
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

201 Clarence St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia
phone: +61 2 9262 3303

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: Todd)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SmashPants
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of SlightlyGrey
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Agentveba
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Ricardo_Rosa
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of drpimento
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Wow, I was blown away. This place is the bomb. The manager, (done gone and forget his name again like the fool I am) and the rest of the staff are super friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. Price/value is excellent. Tried a variety of beers- all delicious. Brewmaster has won a lot of awards. It’s impressive that he can craft so well across such a wide range. I’ve never had a trout that was salmon red before. Customers were equally friendly Tried to convince them to step up to the modern world with wi fi. Any event, serious class act.

Photo of XsoldoutX
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is the most award winning brewer on the continent. Hands down the best beer in the country as far as quality goes, and they make a ton of different brews. I'm not sure if you can get any of their beers outside of this place, which gives you more reason to go and visit. One of the better brewpubs I've ever been to in my life. Friggin' fantastic!

Photo of Dinkel
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of TrentonWLangkamp
4.26/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Found this gem on a Saturday, came in as it was opening. CBD is pretty vacated on the weekend so had a good chance to talk to the staff. Place was very clean, the atmosphere and decor were spot on. The beer was excellent, I would put it up against some of the best breweries I've been to in the states.

Photo of drtth
3.3/5  rDev -22.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Reviewed from notes taked during a visit to Australia in June.

While I enjoyed my visit to the Redoak café it was as much because of the dinner party I was with that evening.

The atmosphere was ok but on the noisy side in the bar area. When we were seated at the tables we asked that the sound at our end of the room be turned down a bit so we could chat, etc. While that did happen the sound eventually got loud again to the point that a member of our party was actually experiencing discomfort and left early. The physical arrangements were otherwise fine.

The quality of the beer, from my perspective, was again ok but lacking in that the three different beers I sampled were just ok. Also, one English member of the party was also fond of a good Bitter and we both agreed that while the beer given us as a Bitter, while ok, lacked some of the qualities we expected in an English Bitter and could have used more hopping.

The service was attentive and responsive but a bit limited by the size of the crowd. The young woman server was pleasant, helpful, and did do her best to be sure we had no long waits, etc.

The selection of beers looked quite good on the menu and there was a wide range of house brewed styles on offer. But those we sampled were just not quite up to snuff.

The food was the best part of the experience and the beer food combinations we picked did work well together.

On the whole I found this to be an ok place that did not quite live up to expectation. However, given the general beer scene in Sydney compared to what I'm used to in SE PA it has to be described as a place with potential that hasn't yet been realized.

Photo of admiral
4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

One of my favourite beer venues in Australia. In Sydney, this venue, along with the taphouse and the lord nelson, are a must do for anyone visiting the city.

The food and drink are top quality with an excellent range of beers on tap and in bottles to choose from, along with an excellent whiskey and wine list.

All the beers I had were outstanding, with their pale ale, bitter, wheat and saison all very tasty and full of flavour

Food was also outstanding, with well matched beer and canape plates to choose from along with an excellent main and dessert menu.

Overall a great, classy, relaxing venue to have some good quality food and drink

Photo of vancurly
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

*** EDIT WINTER 2011 ***
Things ease over time, as too the perceived quality of Redoak. Perhaps they're a bit jaded. Perhaps I'm a bit jaded. Perhaps the in-crowd has moved on, and they're struggling for relevance. (Note: since my last review the Local Taphouse at Darlinghurst has opened, as too Hart's Pub).
I tasted an Australian Ale, the Honey Ale, and an arbitrary Porter. Still 'good' but not as outstanding as before. I noticed with some dismay the appearance of three ciders, occupying taps that could have been taken by some more ales.
Yes, they are struggling for relevance, and are targetting a different market. The beers they had available all seemed to me a bit passe, and the sense of innovation that once set this place apart has headed North and East to other establishments.

*** EDIT 20 May 2007 ***
Held my 40th birthday drinks here, with 8 mates. Janet really looked after us, helping us select the sequence of tasting, and basically being a good sport putting up with 9 pissed experts.
Tried new editions of Kölsch and Eisbock, which were excellent, and also some old favourites like Organic Pale & IPA. I had not tried the DunkelWeiss before, and found it be excellent.

*** Original Review ***

This place is great. I haven't been here since joining BA, but Janet remembered me and, pointed out the new IPA on tap. I vaguely recall more than a year earlier asking her to consider brewing one, and what do you know ? That's service !! And what a beer !!
I sat at the bar with my mate, handed over the credit card to open a slate. and got stuck in... IPA, English Real Ale (hand-pumped), Honey Ale, Altbier, Wee Heavy Ale. A great cross-section, and all with significant merit.
I nearly got turfed onto the street when I ask her if there was any "Brett" in the Wee Heavy. She didn't follow, so I tried to convey the impression of Band Aids to her... ummm... let's say I had to do a bit of back-pedalling to get out of that one...:-)
Not to worry. The place was packed come 5pm Friday. The only downer is the smoking table at the front door, which, given this day's prevailing wind, blew the offensive plume across the bar... not good.
The award winning Special Reserve barley wine is available for $15 per 50ml. This equates to $75 per 250ml bottle (e.g. Thomas Hardy-sized). I didn't try it on this visit, but this is EIGHT TIMES the price I paid for the Hardy recently. It better be bloody good, I tell you....

Photo of heygeebee
3.36/5  rDev -21.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

Ah, Redoak, Redoak, Redoak... a venue that seems to be dividing the beer community at present.

Have had some lovely times in here before, Saturday endless lunches with varieties of beer to match and enjoy. However, haven't been recently to allow me to review.

Popped in around 4:30 on a Friday arvo. Place was far from full, and mrs heygeebee and I were able to find a seat. I ordered a 'standard' bitter, and mrs heygeebee asked for a tasting plate as she was peckish, but we were informed these were not available until 5 as the kitchen was between shifts. No biggie, I suppose. Time to look at the beer menu in detail. Pride of Place - 'Redoaks Eagerly Awaited Ciders' erm, by who, I wonder? Not I... There are still three to four times as many beers as ciders, tho a lot of beer in bottles What got me was that the tasting plates are now four nibbles, with two beers plus two ciders. Not good. Change of direction from Redoak management, methinks.

Didn't try to talk beer to the staff, but they were generic pleasant.

So, the bar area got full by five or so, the restaurant area was still empty, not too many suits in sight, and the venue is still really well appointed. It's still the best bet, if you like beer as we do, within a few hundred metres in any direction. Beers in general are still all OK, nothing to point out brew-wise, but not too inventive either. Served too cold, as is the usual complaint. Didn't have the food.

Getting home, checked the website - it's hopelessly out of date compared to what was on offer.

Redoak, where will you go?

Photo of dgilks
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Redoak is located in the Sydney CBD on Clarence St. The venue itself is simply adorned and nicely appointed with a series of tables and high benches to allow people to congragate.

The beer list is limited to their own beers which is understandable but unfortunate as while some Redoak beers are good, others are atrocious. Most beers are served well but I have experienced beers with off-flavours that could be attributed to unclean taplines.

The service is fair and while the servers are knowledgeable, I have found them to sometimes be a little bit arrogant and condesending to patrons who know what they are talking about. Service can also be slow at times.

The selection is good with a broad range of Redoak beers on tap and in bottles including some of their very limited beers. The biggest issue with some of these is the price with 250ml bottles of their beers going for up to $75.

On the whole it's worth a stop if you are in the area but you will find better beer and a nicer atmosphere at better prices at the Local Taphouse.

Photo of Otterburn
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Red Umbrellas on the side walk. Inside is a very nice decoreted bar/café. Lots of wood everywhere. The place is nice and the waiters are chic. it looks like a nice restaurant. Everybody was well-dressed, looking sharp.

it was maybe a friday or something, and the place was full. We find a table, and i order the degustation board. It was excellent. Each beer was paired with a small portion of food. 3 different meat. I dont remember exactly what it was,but it was excellent. Each beer belongs with the food. The service was fast and helpfull.
They was a great selection of beer on tap and on bottles.

It was a bit pricey, but if you considered the quality, is really not that bad. You pay for what you get.

I think its a must if you are around.

Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This is more a "brewrestaurant" than a brewpub. Dark, wide paneled hardwood floors, brass chandeliers, very clean and outstanding service bt not at all pretencious.

I ate at the bar (travelng alone on business) and the bartender could not have been more accommodating, having 6 tastings in front of me in no time.

Beers are in the English style and don't stray far from form, though the IPA was more full bodies and hoppy than expected. They also have a few of their own reserve bottles available (some very expensive- $75).

Food was very good and not pub fare. I had kangaroo served rare as recommend. Delicious!

Definitely worth a visit when in Sydney along with the Local Taphouse.

Photo of MrKennedy
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place opened in around 2004/2005 and i have been there quite a bit during that time.

When it first opened the craft brewing scene in this country was just starting to gain some impetus (relatively speaking) and the range of good imported beer in bottle shops was not that great...a lot of things have changed during this period.

Whey the above comments? Just to give some context for the review...when it first opened the beers were fantastic, almost all the styles were great and seemed to be brewed very well technically. It seems though that the standard has fallen over the past half decade, or is it that the competition has pushed the bar to a new level...don't get me wrong, the beer is still good, but i never seem to walk away with a big grin from their beers anymore.

Another change: the prices have dropped, on opening it was hard to find a pint for $10 or less and now a number are selling at $8 or $9, which is a welcome change. Some of their more esoteric styles sell for up to $75 for 250ml, which is (i think) part a reflection of the tax on beer in Australia, part high cost of brewing and part wank!

The service is mixed, sometimes fantastic, often over the top descriptions come with the beers...but what really infuriates me is a staff member taking up to 5 minutes explaining a beer to a patron before i get served.

Otherwise, the food is very good to excellent for a bar, the bar area is often difficult to find some room, the beer is good to very good...but just some simple things could make this place so much better for everyone.

I do recommend as a must visit on a trip to Sydney and hope you get to experience all the highs of this place, without some of the little lows.

Photo of hurleymanvw
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The only negative i can say about Redoak is that i happen to stumble in on the night of their very first beer tasting school. It was a bit back and the servers seems trained on the guest there for the tasting while it was going on and not on the others at the bar. I was luck enough to get a seat at the bar and i must say the bartenders were great once it got less hetic. I had their FRAMBOISE FROMENT and SPECIAL STRONG ALE and what can i say but awesome. The framboise was out of the this world and the strong bitter had just enough pop with a nice malt balance it was great. I will return here again to try one of their cheese or desert samplers paired with the house beers. A great place for any quality beer lover.

Photo of Beervis
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I visited RedOak a couple times while I was on vacation in Australia last month. What more can I say about this place, except fantastic beer, great friendly service, and a great atmosphere. The first time I visited, it was for a nice dinner with my wife. I will say up front that the food is great too.

I was able to try a few brews, and loved every one of them. I started off with the American Double IPA. It was a great beer, not as potent as some of the ones we get here in the USA, but as far as Aussie beers go, I believe this one is pretty extreme. Since my palate was still in good shape, even after a pretty hoppy beer, I went with the Marzen Rauchbier. What an amazing beer this was, and as it would turn out, it would be my favourite one that I tried. I finished the night off with the Baltic Porter from the dessert menu, this too was awesome. On this first visit, the waiter was a great guy, and once he found out I was knowledgable about beer, he really started conversing with us. Needless to say, he gave fantastic service and was very passionate about beer which was nice to see. At the end of the night the owner came over and talked to my wife and I. The waiter had told her that we were from the US and I was a BA. She told me that the BA guys had visited there too and said some of the same things I did (I assume she was talking about the Bros., who must have visited at some point). It was really nice to feel special and recognized for being a BA, I felt the love!!! She brought me over a free copy of Beer and Brewer mag that RedOak was featured in, and I told her how it would be nice to see their beers in the US at some point.

I went back one more time on my trip, and this time I sat in the bar and tried all the brews that I wanted to try but didn't the previous visit. I was once again greeted by our waiter from a few days before, who recognized me and said "you're back!". This time I had the Hefe, the Pale Ale, and another one I can't recall, I believe maybe a wheat beer with fruit. I finished off the visit with their limited edition barleywine. It was kinda funny, as the bartender was all excited that I ordered it, because he didn't get to serve it very often. He carefully measured out my 55ml serving from the 11.2oz bottle, and I drank it up and loved every sip.

Overall this place was fantastic and definitely a must visit if you are in Sydney...which may I add is an incredible city, and one that I wish I could have stayed in for alot longer!

Photo of brendan13
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I timed my visit to Red Oak to coincide with one of their Beer Dinner/Class on 19th of Jan. I got there at 4:30pm and left at 11:30 roughly (I think).
It certainly is more restaurant than bar with most of the space taken up by tables with table clothes, napkins, the works.
As part of the beer class the first beer offered was the Irish Red. Having had it before I opted for the Kolsch instead.
Then being seated for the dinner with a quick introduction from Janet the first course was served. Crab & roast pumpkin risotto paired with Organic Hefeweizen. Without going into all the details of the beer dinner it was great with Simon, the beer sommelier, talking about beer history & talking about the food and beer pairing.
Their selection is amazing, not much more can be said. I'll say more anyway. Everything from their signature Framboise Froment to Old Baltic Porter and everything else in between; All the regular bottled beers on tap as well as a very tasty & well balanced IPA, Marzen-Rauch, Berry Weiss, Oatmeal Stout & many more. The reserve list is pricey but very tempting. $75 for a 250ml bottle of beer is pushing it...
They are obviously very passionate about beer & their service reflects this. One of the guys advised me to let the Belgian Choc Cherry Stout warm for 5 or so minutes to allow the "black forest cake" flavours to come through & it was well worth it. Allowing it to warm for more like 10 to 15 minutes was even better. Even the English girl who had only been there for 2 months seemed to know her beer. Compared to other "beer destinations" that was quite pleasing.
As mentioned above the beer dinner was great, I think a regular meal would also be pretty damn good.
The beer dinner was great value - 6 beers, 4 courses, $79.
They are certainly on the higher end of the scale in terms of the price but it is well worth it. In a way I'm glad I don't live in Sydney as I could see myself spending way too much time and money here.
A MUST visit for anyone in good beer.

Photo of Finite
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Great place. Well designed layout with a good amount of seating for both drinkers and those who are eating.

Great quality food and beer. Bathrooms are very neat and a welcome change from some of the ones around. Individual glassware for each beer. All well presented.

As good as service as one can ask for. Barmaid was keen to talk and teach about each beer and happy to chat about various styles and sudgest new ones. Having staff that care about what they are serving is a nice touch. All seem to know how to pour a beer properly and even wash any residue from the outside of the glasware before serving.

Very nice food at a good price. Bowl of chips plus a kolsh for $12. Thats excelent value in Sydney. The best brewpub in Sydney hands down

Photo of joecast
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

the red umbrellas outside help identify this in an otherwise undistinguishable sydney city street. walk in and the decor is rather upscale and tidy, almost lacking in personality and a welcoming feeling to be honest. nice hardwood floors. the bar is along the left past two brewing vessels. a few stools at the bar, self-serve short tables directly in front with dining tables to the right.

about ten taps, each with a different redoak brew. only tried four, but from those examples, i doubt you could go wrong with any. roughly another half dozen other brews in bottles behind the bar.

service was good though we didnt sit at the dining tables. had to order at the bar but the servers were quick and helpful, even suggesting another similar style when my first choice wasnt available and letting me know the ipa is on the strong side of the abv scale (thanks, i'll have two).

speaking of the ipa...fantastic. the menu mentions ekg and fuggles as the hops, and they are used to full effect. great aroma and full flavor and bitterness. also enjoyed the kolsch (my wifes new favorite beer), marzen, and baltic porter. wouldnt get tired of any of them. very tasty and unique.

didnt have a meal there but did have some chips with horse radish. recommended.

only two negatives to this place that would keep it being a regular hangout, or place i went to for a long session (though it doesnt seem like the place that caters to people coming in for a long session anyway). the "boring" atmosphere, and the price. pints are well over the $10 mark, and some of the strong beers are priced and served to encourage just having one.

to end on a positive note, the glassware is also great. each beer came in a different appropriate style, and all with the redoak logo.a nice touch.
as others have said. if you're in the city, or near the city, dont miss this place. the beer is very likely the best brewed in austarlia.

Photo of baggio
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Pub-style restaurant that has about 20 brews of their own. Atmosphere is good even though it might be a bit loud for some people. They won't sell
you sampleboards of their beers unless you order it alongside food. Some of the beers are truly exceptional and a must try. I found their beer "Christmas cheer" to be the best beer i've tried in australia. Tastes alot like liquid christmas-pudding. If you're in Sydney you can not afford to miss this place. The food and beer is a bit on the pricey side but well worth the money.

Photo of jarmby1711
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went on a Saturday afternoon .It was quiet which made the atmosphere disppointing It is very much Cafe rather than bar.
There were a dozen beers to chose from and the staff were attentive but not over engaging (ie they left you alone )
I had a sample of 4 beers and 4 small food samples for $20.I was pretty impressed with what I was given and thought it good value.
I also tried some 250ml size beers , and a couple (oatmeal stout and mild ale were a little on the too chilled side I thought).
It is a sterile environment and not conducive to settling down for an afternoons beer drinking which was the worst aspect for me.
Definitely worth a visitand next time I am in Sydney I will go again.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

visited with family & one of the co-owners, janet, opened a few minutes early on a saturday for us. and were we thankful she did!

i won't pretend i've been to that many breweries (technically they don't do much brewing on-premise as this is their flagship face to beer lovers), but this is undoubtedly a world-class brewer. i was amazed at the quantity of beer styles they made ( something like 20), but more importantly, each of the styles i had were of phenomenal quality and taste. i tried the doppelbock, old baltic porter, special reserve, and tripel -- all big beers, all very tasty & worth bottling (only the special reserve is bottled currently).

and i had a chance to meet the other owner & brewer, david. he was very humble about the success they've had in a short 3-4 years of being around. he gave me some great insight into brewing and the australian beer scene. both he & janet were great hosts.

we ate lunch & enjoyed it as well, though not as much as the beer. and the atmosphere was very pleasant, with a good mix of music from heavy metal to jack johnson.

the only knock on redoak is the pricing -- everything was very pricey, especially the big beers. while i understand it is costly to brew in small batches (especially in australia with the add-on taxes) & they are truly a boutique brewer, i couldn't frequent the place too such steep prices.

despite that, redoak is a must-visit for any beer-fan who goes to sydney. cheers to janet & david for a top-notch brewery!

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Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe in Sydney, Australia
94 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.