The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

The Lord Nelson Brewery HotelThe Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
The Lord Nelson Brewery HotelThe Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

19 Kent St
The Rocks, NSW 2000

+61 2 9251 4044 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
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Ratings by travelguy:
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Rated by travelguy from Ohio

4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Mar 06, 2017
More User Ratings:
Photo of RichardLeahy
Reviewed by RichardLeahy from Australia

3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5
Great historic building in Sydney's historic Rocks precinct so for me this place gets a headstart. But a great place for a beer, authentic fitout, good range, including their own. Yet to eat here.
Oct 08, 2019
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Reviewed by chopolds from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75
We stayed at the hotel here before and after doing an Australian cruise. To have a pub and brewery in the same place is a wonderful idea. The staff at the hotel were so friendly and accommodating! Lauren, at the registration desk, was so helpful in getting around on our first trip 'down under'.
As for the food and beer, Excellent! Enjoyed all the brews, but the Nelson's Blood Porter and Old Admiral stood out for me, while my SO enjoyed the lighter ones, 3 Sheets and Mon Cherie Saison. Rich and flavorful were the dark beers, and the fish and chips outstanding! Even the Aussie version of pizza was very good, and that's something coming from the NY/NJ area.
Sep 11, 2019
Rated: 4.47 by Mike_Garber from Florida

Jul 04, 2019
Rated: 4.06 by He_was_a_wise_man from California

May 04, 2018
Rated: 4.02 by Mikexw from New York

Nov 29, 2017
Rated: 3.13 by KalbHOMEBREWS from Colorado

Feb 02, 2017
Rated: 3.83 by Spaceman_Jer from Colorado

Jan 31, 2017
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Reviewed by XsoldoutX from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5
This place, which is Sydney's oldest hotel, is a must try if you are in downtown Sydney, as is nearby (sort of) Redoak. If you're a beer nerd, don't skip out on these two places!
Apr 26, 2016
Rated: 3.63 by Hungtseechau from Australia

Mar 29, 2016
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Reviewed by hopphead31415 from Virginia

4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75
This place is awesome. The folks that run the place are kind and friendly. They brew all their beer on site. They have a nice variety of beers on tap, but if you want a strong beer then go somewhere else. You really should give these beers a try if you are ever in Sydney. I had a red ale and the 3 sheets. The food was excellent also. I had the shepards pie equivalent which is typical local cuisine and was amazing. This venue is on a bike route and is nearby the harbor so it has a great location. I loved this place!
Aug 02, 2015
Rated: 4.11 by Ig0r from Virginia

Jul 18, 2015
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Reviewed by BillRoth from Maryland

3.49/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4
Beer Safari in Sydney. Seemed important to check out Lord Nelson. Claims to be oldest Hotel in Australia (1841). Nice walk from the Rocks core to bit on the edge through cool residential neighborhood. Pubs/bars in Australia are often named "hotels" and "inns" as part of old legislation that required rooms for people who may need them after a night of tipping cups.
Found the LN to be a very nice pub with great atmosphere. People were very pleasant and helpful. 14 taps and creative food menu including interesting versions on salads, steaks, curries, appetizers, etc. House beers were British in style and essentially revolved around MOR Pale Ale. Unfortunately their Porter was off that night. Beers were serviceable to match the quaint British feel, but nothing to speak of. Overall very nice experience. But many better places for beer in Sydney.
Feb 15, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by double2chin from California

Dec 14, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by SmashPants from Australia

Dec 03, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by newbeeraday from Pennsylvania

Nov 29, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by spycow from Illinois

Nov 25, 2014
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Rated by NickTheGreat from Iowa

4/5  rDev +2.8%
Good for Australian Beer!

Nice place though, with a good selection.
Sep 15, 2014
Rated: 3.76 by Dirtywaltzer80 from Australia

Sep 14, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Agentveba from North Carolina

May 26, 2014
Rated: 4 by Dinkel from Texas

Dec 27, 2013
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Reviewed by TrentonWLangkamp from Florida

3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25
A lot of history at The Lord Nelson. Storied as the oldest pub in Sydney. True English fare and brew. Great atmosphere and true English style ales. Great location at the top of The Rocks. Offerings include their own plus a lot of the Australian favorites.
Nov 17, 2013
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Reviewed by admiral from Australia

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75
Good old fashioned quality English ales are what the Lord Nelson does best.

The food is also very good, with mostly English type fare to match the beers. Beers are brewed on site and nearly all are full of flavour and ones you could happily drink over and over again during a lazy afternoon/night.

Highly recommended if you are in Sydney.
Jul 11, 2013
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Reviewed by MrKennedy from Australia

3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5
Tucked away a bit in The Rocks is the oldest brewpub in the country and one of the seemingly many Sydney pubs with claims to be the oldest in the country.

An old sandstone building with timber everywhere inside, including well worn timber floors. Nice lantern style lights go with the obvious nautical theme. Huge timber beams in the ceiling from which a barrel and many nautical flags fly. The walls are adorned by old brewery photos as well as honour boards for sailing races that the pub used to run. The place gets a good buzz about it with all the hard surfaces as the pub fills up, but is nice and relaxing at lunchtime midweek to just chill and have a beer when it is less crowded. Expect for it to be busy all weekend and on Thursday and Friday nights.

Service was ok, nice and polite and efficient. The person after me was after the beer closest to an IPA and she suggested Trafalgar would be the closest but acknowledged it wasn't on at the moment. So solid beer knowledge.

The beers have a British slant to them, which should come as no surprise given the name of the place. Currently 11 taps devoted to beer, 7 for the house brews (Quayle Ale, Trafalgar Pale, Nelson's Blood, Victory Bitter, Old Admiral and Three Sheets, plus the current seasonal One Eyed Rye), though Trafalgar, Nelson's and One Eyed Rye were not pouring today. Coopers Light is the low ABV offering, while Coopers Pale, Coopers Vintage and Paulaner are the others. 2 taps for cider. The Coopers taps aren't surprising as the pub has always been a good supporter of Coopers. As the story goes, they once sold a cellared version of Coopers Extra Stout which was so well received it prompted Coopers to cellar the beer themselves and release it as Special Old Stout.

Prices aren't the cheapest at $4.70 for a 10oz pour of the Victory Bitter. However, this is The Rocks, so its a bit of a case of expectations being met. Beer is now available "to-go" with the 3 bottled ales (Quayle Ale, Three Sheets and Old Admiral) selling for $5 a single, $19-$19.50 a 6 pack and $66-$71 for a case of 24. Bear in mind the bottled beers are brewed under licence off-site.

The beers have their ups and downs and the brewery seems to have a pretty high turnover of brewers. Also if you are into Rum, it has one of the better pub selections in Sydney and likewise for single malt Scotch. The pub itself is one of the best in Sydney for character. If you like crowds, pick your moment and if you like space, also best to choose the best time to visit. Worthwhile visting if you are in The Rocks.
Nov 13, 2012
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Reviewed by heygeebee from Australia

3.93/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
The Nelson is basically a Sydney Institution. Set nicely back for the main area of the Rocks, it benefits by getting busy but not too busy. In on a recent Saturday night at seven, the place was full, but not overflowing, and a great vibe, once you opened the door. The fire was blazing (well, by Aus standards) giving a wintery feel to the place. Lovely sandstone walls abound, and the brewery tanks sit round the corner - I am not sure if this is their whole brewing operation tho.

The beer menu is easy to see and read - chalkboards above the bar do the job nicely. It's also not too extensive, tho other taps feature Coopers and also Chimay Blanc. English style ales of varying strengths are the theme.

Just the right mount of items hang from the ceiling to make it look like A Pub, with a real nod to British Heritage.

Let's put it into perspective in Sydney. If fills a niche - it may not have as many beers as Redoak, nor be as plush. It has a better vibe than the Taphouse, and is older. It doesn't have family-friendliness like say 4 Pines. When you do these comparison it becomes clear that the current crop of Sydney's beer bars are apples and oranges. none are alike. This is A Good Thing.

Last and sadly least, the beer is served too cold.

Beers reviewed elsewhere. Food not sampled recently.
Jun 06, 2011
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Reviewed by WoodBrew from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
Sitting in the old section of Sydney called "The Rocks" is a neat stone brewery called Lord Nelson's Brewery (LNB)!!! It certainly did not take a full nelson to get me into this place. It is very invited from the entry way, which is in on a diagnol to invite parched patron on either crossing street. The neighborhood, "the rocks", offers a charm of its own cuz it provides a little bit of local flavor...meaning even the locals enjoy it. Unfortunately for the world visiting LNB or Australia for that have to get used to the slow un-urgent service. Once you get past that and enjoy the beer it has to offer you soon can forget about the poor service. What is interesting about LNB is that it has a wonderful old world pub feel at the main level, but the upper level where the Brasserie quite different. The brasserie has white table clothes a select wine list and wonderful....and I mean, but it is pricy...even for Sydney. At a minimum I highly recommend a visit to at least taste the beer....if hungary and have extra cash in the pocket head up stairs for a doubt you will enjoy!
Feb 15, 2011
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Reviewed by chadlebald from California

4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Simply put, a wonderful brewpub.

I came across this place on my one and only day in Sydney. And I spent more time there than I probably should have as it was my first visit to Australia (and did I mention that visit was all of 24 hours?). But the beers were that enticing. So I stayed.

And if the great brews weren't enough to keep me there, I met and chatted with the brewmaster, Damon. He was very open and welcoming--more than happy to chat about brewing methods, tricks, etc. Passionate about his brewing and an all-around nice guy.

I only wish they'd have had some eats beyond chips (which they actually did at the time - some cheese/bread plate thing - but that wasn't actually offered me!)

Great great place.
Nov 19, 2010
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Reviewed by drtth from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
Reviewed from notes taken on a recent visit to Sydney.

Made the visit on a busy Saturday evening. The downstairs bar was quite crowded and somewhat noisy but we found a barrel to stand around and set the beers on while chatting and waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant upstairs.

Generally the amosphere in the bar was congenial and everyone was clearly there to enjoy themselves and relax. Lots of wood in evidence and its clear this place has been in business for a quite long time. Struck me a nice place on a quieter evening to stop by, have a couple of beers and a good chat with friends. (No TVs!) The bar was busy but service was just fine. The range of beers on offer was limited to about 5 of the Lord Nelson's range but those we tried were fine, if not outstanding.

Going upstairs for dinner was like entering a different establishment. The room was well appointed and quiet, tables were widely spaced and it was clear that this was a place for fine dining. The service was very attentive and the server very knowledgeable. I had a preparation of Barramundi I'd not tried before and found it to be excellent.

However, with the US and Aussie dollar almost at parity while I was there I did experience some sticker shock at the price of the food.
Nov 02, 2010
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Reviewed by TubaManJack from District of Columbia

4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5
Went Late on ANZAC Day

Okay so it was a happy holiday and everyone else was out in force for this special day. This was the fourth drinking establishment I visited on the day, but only the 2nd where I bought a pint(s). Could you fault me for trying to find a game of two up. Although their wasn't a game on it I decided to stick around for the killer atmosphere. It had a classic pub feel to it and fortunately no one was falling down drunk, which was atypical for the other places. The floor plan was open and moderately full. However this place is between the Rocks and CDB districts so grab a map before you try to find this place.

As for the service it was okay considering the night and the bar can't really be faulted. They had their own brews on tap and a wide variety of bottled ciders and even Chimney on-tap. You must try Nelson's Blood (Roasted Porter) even if its just for the name. The food looked good and on Mondays was $6 pie night.

$4Aus for pints on a Holiday--> Will always get my vote.
Apr 27, 2009
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Reviewed by charlesw from New York

3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3
Uh. Guys. It looks a lot like it's an extract pub. Not all that exciting in terms of what can happen with beer. Heck, Australia... Wow. Talk about a country in need of beer. Still, I spoke with a shopkeeper and a barkeeper and they were both very strong beer advocates. The problem, for me, is that there's nothing for me to drink in the whole country, it would appear.

[Edit: In all fairness, I've been told that it's not an extract brewery. Makes sense, given the beers they serve. Unfortunately, that knocks the score for the service down since they don't know their own stuff. Too bad, they were all very nice.]

Which brings us back to this pub. Pretty publike feel. Small and crazy.

They had 6 of their own on tap. Quayle (wheat), Trafalgar Pale, 3 Sheets (German inspired - whatever that means), Old Admiral (old ale), Victory Bitter and whatever the porter was called. In addition to some other beers.

I had a pint of the Old Admiral then enjoyed a half pint each of the Trafalgar and Victory. The Trafalgar was the best beer of the three and by far. They could make a beer, based on that recipe, that would be simply amazing. Alas, as I said, it's an extract brewery. So they might be able to make a really good beer if they get really good extract.

Service was prompt, friendly, helpful.

They have a little bar food. Prices are variable (more expensive sat, sun and when we feel like it). Prolly par for the course.

1/2's were 4.2 and pints were 7.8 (aus$ resp.). Food was outrageous - 16 aus$? Get out of here!

Overall I'm not really impressed. I think this market is ripe for the right entrepreneur - someone to make the beer and sell it.
Mar 15, 2009
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Reviewed by hurleymanvw from Georgia

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
I tried my hardest to get my co-workers traveling with me to stay at this place but they wouldn't go for it. I will stay next time in Sydney. We stopped in for a few beers and i loved the old world atmosphere of this place. The local feel was great and good beers made it a place i would love to hold a seat at the bar at anytime. I tried the Amber and the Robust Porter both were nice for the syles. It was mid afternoon so not ready for food but i will eat there next time and give another review. All in all a great place with alot of charater. Perfect location for an old beer soul to settle down in Sydney.
Aug 29, 2008
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Reviewed by brendan13 from Australia

3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Visted on a rainy, humid Friday afternoon that extended into early evening. Busy enough to ensure that no seats were available but still pretty quick to get a drink.
I started with a pint of the Quayle Ale which was pretty refreshing. The stand out was easily the Nelsons Blood followed by Victory Bitter.
Didn't need to ask the bartenders about the various beers as they have chalkboards with decent descriptions above the bar.
Had 6 of their own beers on tap as well as both Coopers Sparkling & Pale. Also had Guiness & Chimay White as a guest tap. Most people seemed to be drinking LN beers but there were a few suits drinking Corona & Peroni...

The only complaint I have is that there was a table "reserved" in the corner. Since when can you reserve tables in a pub??? Added to this was the fact that it was staff who had just knocked off or having a break that were sitting there. I'd stop that sort of thing if I was the manager, particularly on a fairly busy Friday night.
Jan 19, 2008
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Reviewed by johndawsonaustin from England

4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3
My favourite place when visiting Sydney is the Lord Nelson Hotel.

A cosy bar downstairs with the brewing equipment visible in the back room. Uptairs holds a few rooms for accomodation, which are quite comfortable, even if they don't all have ensuite facilities.

Last time I was there, they had six of their own beers on sale, unfortunately, not on hand pump, but all very tasty, if a bit gassy for me. My favourite was the Three Sheets, an "Australian Pale Ale", very remininiscent of American Pale ales, being superbly hoppy. Second favourite for me was their variation of an English Porter.

Food is not a big thing here, though you can get pie, mushy peas and mash, which is quite tasty, if you like that sort of thing.

(Visited December 2007)
Jan 03, 2008
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Reviewed by baggio from Sweden

3.5/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Nice little pub with a microbrewery in one corner. Most of the beers are very well crafted and good tasting. Best one i had was the porter called "Nelsons Blood". Regarding food i can recommend the beerbread-platter with bread baked on the remains of the grain used to produce the beer. It comes with cheese and sausages and pickles. Excellent value! The place is also conveniently located in the Rocks so it's easy to find.

A place i will most likely visit again. Recommended.
Dec 20, 2007
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Reviewed by BillStrehl from Maryland

4.28/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
I learned of this place from a person who said it was one of her favorite places. Since she managed the beer section of Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn, Michigan I figured it was a credible recommendation. There is a pub downstairs and a restaurant upstairs that closes for private parties. It was my misfortune to not know this happens when I tried to have dinner there upon my arrival in Sydney from the US. I asked if they would be serving dinner the next evening and was told I would have to call the next day. (All of this interaction was with the people working in the pub.)

I called the next day and was able to make a dinner reservation but the person who I first talked to seemed almost clueless about whether the restaurant would be open. (Maybe another pub employee).

My dinner of Baramundi with a curry sauce was outstanding however my wife did not care for her beef dish and after tasting it I would say the flavor was very different than the US beef I am used to.

While they don't normally sell samplers our waiter was most accommodating and set us up with a sampler of all their house beers. The beers were brewed in a UK style and were very good.

I can't comment on the pub but it seemed very popular but a bit on the noisy side. I would definitely return to this place again.
Jul 24, 2007
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Reviewed by IPA17 from New Jersey

3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3
This place was nice but I was a little disappointed by some surly old guy who worked there, who, although he may have been the help, was of little help. Anyway, they don't do samplers although the bartender let me try three. They were out of the porter. The atmosphere was nice but touristy. The quality seemed ok but there was little pride evident in their attitudes toward their beer. The selection was ok--6--with the porter. Didn't have any food. The beer was not cheap. All in all, worth the stop if you have the time.
Dec 04, 2006
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Reviewed by dwarbi from New York

3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2
The Lord Nelson is a gem of a historical pub in Sydney. It's hard to beat it in terms of atmoshere - at least in poor weather, that is. If you've been to Sydney then you probably know that nearly every pub has plenty of outdoor seating a few dozen space heaters. Sydneysiders don't acknowledge the existence of winter or rain. When it rains or winters, head to the Lord Nelson for an old-style pub with a roaring fireplace.

Some of the staff don't know anything about the beer and will just as soon recommend a Hahn over a beer brewed in house. If you're at the bar and a non BA is standing beside you looking at the taps and not knowing one from the other, help him out and suggest a Lord Nelson brew. They're not the best beers but they are locally made and decent.

One of the great things about the Lord Nelson is the bottle selection: enough other craft beers and Belgians to choose from! It's easy to forget that, but if you're tired of Three Sheets or Old Admiral, enjoy a Critters or a Chimay.

The food comes from the upscale, over-priced and disappointing bistro one level up. Skip it. If you need food, go for the ploughman's platter.
Nov 19, 2006
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Reviewed by joedon from Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
This place hasn't changed much since my last visit in 1993. Very old stone building that says "quaint". You can easily imagine sailors drinking here who have hiked up from the quay. Decorated much like a British pub with navy signal flags, old photos and nautical knick-knacks.

Nice selection of beers; five taps working during our visit. My wife (who is not a beer drinker) had the Trafalgar pale ale and decreed it to be quite good. I chose the Old Admiral which was a strong brown ale at 6.7%abv. Really excellent brew!

We stopped by at five pm but the kitchen didn't open until six so we ordered a "ploughman's plate." This consisted of pickled onions, hot mustard, chutney, about five slices of brown bread and a generous serving of cheese; must have been about a pound!

The brewery is quite small. On display were what appeared to be three serving tanks and one fermenter. No brewmaster on duty so I couldn't quiz him about the beers.

I thought we received good value at the Lord Nelson. The food was AU$10 and the beers were AU$6 per pint. Total of about $16.50 US.

Highly recommended! We plan at least one more visit during our Australia vacation.
Aug 17, 2006
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Reviewed by BlackHaddock from England

4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
I had two weeks in Sydney, mostly trying beers and different bars.

This was my favourite drinking establishment. Open plan, plenty of serving area around the large bar and a good choice (mainly British style beers) on tap.

It is located a short walk from the louder, youngster style bars of 'The Rocks' and well worth finding.

I liked the list of names on the wall. Every person who arrived on the very first flotilla bringing convicts to Oz are on the lists. The lists are by ship, it just sends you back to the birth of a nation, it made me think a bit.
Aug 11, 2006
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Reviewed by vancurly from Australia

4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
This is where it all started for me.... where I learnt there was more to life than Tooheys New. It was also here where my passion began, courteousy of Blair Hayden, Willie Simpson, and the One Eyed Beer Tasters Club.
This monthly bacchanalia is now defunct unfortunately, but I have vivid (and blurred) memories of Willie rambling on about Crystal Malt and "bl**dy Wine Wankers".
The hotel itself has remained untouched in my memory, and is one of several that make the claim of being Sydney's oldest.
It's a lovely place: sandstone and well-worn floorboards. The brewery is visible to those who circumnavigate the bar; if you're early or lucky enough, you can grab a much sought-after stool at the bar, or a table near the winter fire.
The beer is fresh, and good. I usually start with a cleansing Three-Sheets, before settling into the Victory Bitter.
Usually a pie, mash & peas is good fare, particularly on a cold day with a pint of Old Admiral. Also highly regarded is a mid-afternoon Ploughman's lunch.
One of Sydney's finest; a mandatory stop on any Rocks pub-crawl.
Jul 17, 2006
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel in The Rocks, Australia
Brewery rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 189 ratings