The Australian Hotel
Taps: 13 / Bottles: 110
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 15 | Show All Ratings:
3.2/5 rDev -19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
An odd building in the fork of two roads, with a split-level bar in the middle. Once the pick of Sydney beer venues. For the best part of the last decade they have also run a beer festival towards the end of October where there are road closures in force and beer stalls out in the street.
Nice old building, quirky with the aforementioned bar. Old school pub carpet adds to it, as does the decorative ceiling. Large bench tables inside and out are popular with drinkers and diners, and those doing both.
This used to be run by Geoffrey Scharer of Scharers Brewery and in the past featured his brews on tap. The bottled beer list is about 100 deep with beers from each Australian state. The bottled beer focus has remained unchanged, but the taplist has largely changed since Keystone Group took over the running of the place. Still if you are after Australian ticks that don't make it to too many Sydney bottleshops, you could do a lot worse than visit here.
The taplist has a very macro-aligned craft feel to it. Plenty of Matilda Bay beers on, I.G.P, Fat Yak, Beez Neez as well as their Dirty Granny Cider. Add in Little Creatures Pale and Vale IPA and that's pretty much the extent of things. There is a bit of room to move amongst the 18 taps, with 1 tap set aside for monthly rotation, but it has been tamed down in recent years to a level that is not much above, if any, an ordinary metropolitan pub.
The food has a renowned reputation for pizzas with varying ingredients like crocodile and kangaroo. Still there are plenty more to choose from with less exotic meats. Not huge in diameter, but tonnes of topping used. Prices are good for what you get with the food at $15-$20 for a small and $20-$25 for a large. Prices for the beer are on the higher side, with a 10oz of the I.G.P., a pale ale, going for $4.90. But this is Sydney and The Rocks, so that does come a bit with the territory.
Service is run of the mill, young staff without a beer focus. They'll take drink and food orders and serve it with a pleasant demeanour, but expect nothing more and you'll be happy.
No longer the crown jewel of beer venues in Sydney. The place has gone backwards a bit in recent years when it comes to beer. Still a nice place to visit and drink and eat at, but as a showcase for the Sydney beer scene it has been left behind by a number of other newer venues.
08-31-2012 03:48:28 | More by MrKennedy
4.18/5 rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This is a great old wedge shaped with the road on one side being busy but the road on the the other side not busy at all. There is probably double the seating on the side walk compared to inside the bar. As you walk in the top bar, it is covered with a red carpet that looks like an old Oriental rug with dark wood covering most of the bar and some nice beeriana scattered around the place. They had several taps but most of the beer was in a two door wooden cooler with glass fronts. I found the selection in the cooler a bit better than the menu which is already a big list. This top bar had a few small tables but if you want to sit inside you take the steep slightly spiraled 8 steps down to the other half of the bar. Indecently, both top and bottom bar are at street level.
They have a big oak barrel out front that says the bottle shop is open but when I walked back to the shop it was all dark. I asked at the bar, and they will package any beers you want and just ring it up at the register as the bottle shop. This made it one of the better bottle shops in the down town area, especially the Rocks. I could just look at the cooler and they would pull out bottles. I got a mixed 12 pack of beers and it was packaged in 1 single lined plastic bag which was already stretching past its threshold. Luckily I got it in my messenger bag to carry out.
We had the Shepherd's pie which was pretty tasty but the Barramundi pie was a little dry. It is a great place to have drink and a bite to eat. A friend told me the duck pizza was really good but we didn't have a chance to try it.
09-24-2009 17:48:56 | More by rhoadsrage
3.53/5 rDev -10.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Dropped by on a weeknight and on ANZAC day.
Its located on the top of the Rocks district its moderately difficult to find without a map, but still possible. The place was lit up with lots of seating outside. The tap selection was great with ~7 on-tap and a strange rotating monthly "guest tap" in addition to a stocked fridge. The place was hopping and had an interesting blend of people from ditzy cocktail drinking blonds, beer drinking dockworkers, and tourists/backpackers like myself. It was definably a unique atmosphere I had a pizza, a pint, and schooner (1/2 pint). It seemed slightly expensive, but that is the story for Sydney in general, and it was really hard to get service of any kind. Overall, if your in town on business or want a quick summary of OZ craft beer, then search for this bar.
04-27-2009 10:33:56 | More by TubaManJack
3.75/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Visited on a Friday afternoon. Was able to get a seat in the corner. Unfortunantly they were out of the first beer I asked for (Hunter Kolsch) so I went with a Scharers Lager.
It was fairly quiet so service was promt & I got my kangaroo pizza pretty quickly. I decided I'd skip the suggest pairing of Boags Premium for my 'roo pizza and go with the Burragorang Bock.
The selection is decent - although I did struggle to find something I hadn't had before but that seems to be a common occurence these days. At least they are doing their part.
All in all decent beer & reasonable food at a fairly good price.
01-19-2008 02:44:37 | More by brendan13
3.93/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
not sure if this place is more widely known for its good beer selection, or fine pizza. whichever reason brings you here, you wont be disappointed.
just a great australian pub. cant say much more than that really. add some great beer on tap, and in bottles and you've got a place to call home.
unusually shaped bar. sort of a v shape with each leg on different levels. could be trouble if you're there a while.
tap selection is a mix of generic aussie lagers with a few gems thrown in for good measure. lcpa, alpha pale ale, and scharers lager the stand outs.
if nothing really catches your eye on tap, check the fridge. a conservative guess is 25 different beers. and plenty of domestic micros to choose from. redoak, mountain goat, and others i didnt recognize.
shared one of the vegetarian pizzas and it was superb. could have sat there eating and drinking for a good long while if i had the time.
cant fault the service though we did order at the bar. prices are pretty reasonable considering the area. this would certainly be somewhere i would try getting to as often as possible.
10-28-2007 08:08:28 | More by joecast
4.22/5 rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
atmosphere: this is a nice quaint bar in the historic "The Rocks" section of Sydney near circular quay and just 5 minutes on foot from my hotel. the interior is similar to most australian bars/hotels and comes equipped with flat screen tvs, gaming machines, and a dual level bar. Outside seating is ideal, even in the colder months as heat lamps are used...all outside seating is covered so rain is not an issue. The bar itself is rather old and is served with a slice of history, much like the rest of the area
quality: by Sydney standards this is a great beer bar...they claim over 80 different beers and i think there was around 10 on tap. I dont even think there was one beer not from australia, but i may be mistaken on that.
service: similar to many places in this nation...you order at the bar (food, drinks) and the food is brought to your table...bartenders were all friendly and humourous
selection: see above...quite a nice mix
food: the main feature is pizza and boy do they do a hell of a job...i got the crocodile pizza and there was also kangaroo, emu, terrific vegetarian options, and more standard choices as well. very nice!
value: beers can be a bit steep...approaching $9 Australian for some taps and cheaper for bottles...pizza reasonably priced
06-16-2007 08:19:44 | More by dirtylou
3.83/5 rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
A must see for the casual visitor to Sydney.Easily accessable in the must see Rocks.
The multi level multi roomed style adds a great ambience to the whole pub.
It was pretty busy on the warm Friday night I went there so it was a bit rushed , for looking over their range.All the barmaids were English which lessened the experience as it felt very much as though the place was run by holidaying part timers,and thus the staff dont add to the overall experience
Food was different enough to be interesting but not good enough to go there for the food.
A pub with atmosphere and individuality
05-18-2007 08:08:56 | More by jarmby1711
United Kingdom (England)
4.25/5 rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Cracking place for a pizza and choice of beers. Old Colonial in style with a veranda on both sides (it is on a corner).
Loads of Aussie beers on tap, most I had never heard of. If I knew that I would be joining this site, I would have reviewed some of the beers, but I can't really remember what I had, I just know they were good!
Friendly, knowledgeable staff, it was very relaxed when I visited, which was mid-week and during the afternoon.
A great place to introduce yourself to Aussie drinking and don't forget to try a pizza.
08-13-2006 21:35:40 | More by BlackHaddock
4.15/5 rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$
An absolute must-do for any pub-crawl in the Rocks. Nicely away from George St to avoid the tour buses, yet an easy climb up old worn steps & cobblestones. I do, however, recommend coming from the other direction, after starting at the Lord Nelson and making your way under the bridge to Cumberland St.
Some history: Geoff Scharer used this place as the foothold for his beers in Sydney city proper, venturing out from his mecca in Picton.
But as most Australian cervesa-philes will know, Geoff has a single minded approach to selling beer... it's his or none at all. This philosophy may work in Picton, but unfortunately is a tad ambitious in the big smoke. I recall sitting over a Burragorang Bock one Friday evening, and a group of 10 or so students barrelled in on a pub crawl. Wanting 10 Carlton Colds, Mr Scharer advised them, in no uncertain terms, that such products were unavailable in the Australian, and referred them to the Glenmore down the road. Revenue vs Integrity... an eternal battle....
But I digress... (this philosophy is no longer in place.... I don't think Geoff is either) .... the Australian Hotel is true to its name, with the most expansive range of Australian beer that you are likely to find in any pub in Sydney.
Thankfully, the Scharers lines are there, on tap, as well as many unusual and hard-to-find items.
And it's too easy to become mesmerised by the bottle fridge.... no finer sight for the beer lover than the Australian's fridge...
Pizzas are pretty good, and do a roaring trade in the evenings and weekend afternoons.
The rooftop is a great spot for a function, although some words of warning... staircase, steep, consume, beer, excess, cranium, fracture.
Again, an absolute must for the local & guest beer aficionado alike. Go to the Lord Nelson for their microbrew, then wander through the under-Bridge tunnel & come to the Aussie for those brewed elsewhere..
07-16-2006 05:52:19 | More by vancurly
4/5 rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
I've been to the Australian 4 times now. I wish I could do something other than order a Little Creatues everytime I see it on tap. But I can't. It's oh so good.
Great selection. 40-some Aussie beers available, and none of the CUB crap from what I saw. Here you can find most Aussie micros available, and served with pretty good service (although the last 2 times I was there the top bar had a very low server/customer ratio and I gave up and went downstairs where I was served more quickly.
The food's good too. My dad and I had the Pepper Kangaroo Pizza and were quite pleased. Lots of meat, nice sauce, and good crust.
It's probably my favorite place to get a beer in Sydney (I really love The Rocks), and I'm sure I'll find myself there for another pint of LCPA if I'm ever in Sydney again.
06-03-2006 10:30:19 | More by DaveFL1976
The Australian Hotel in The Rocks, Australia
89 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.