The Neighborhood Pub Crawl: Week 216

The Rose Hotel in Chippendale: Sydney, Australia

I have often contemplated the curious color palette of The Rose Hotel on my way to work. In the nicest way possible, I would say the names of the paint chips were Victorian Christmas and baby vomit.

Although I was very familiar with the exterior of the hotel, I hadn’t been inside until the ‘fight of the century’ between Mayweather and Pacquiao. The main bar with the trompe l’oeil ceilings was full, so Barret and I found a wood bench in the spacious courtyard and ordered a round of Bloody Marys with lunch. With the exception of one loud group, the audience was cheering for Pacquiao and when he lost the hotel quickly emptied.

A laundry line outside a house in Darlington: Sydney, Australia

Barret and I followed the exodus of people back out onto the street, but the afternoon weather was so nice that we decided to take a different route home. From Chippendale we walked through a quiet residential street in Darlington before ending up in Redfern.

A faded and peeling wall in Redfern: Sydney, Australia

It wasn’t so long ago that Redfern was a rough neighborhood, but the last decade has brought about significant gentrification. Strolling down Regent Street, Barret and I popped into an antique shop and against better judgment we left with two small spoons made from cow bones. Thin black decorative lines were carved into the polished surface.

Front door of The Bearded Tit in Redfern: Sydney, Australia

A few doors down from the antique shop was an establishment called The Bearded Tit. It’s an LGBT-friendly bar named after a puffy white bird that breeds in the reedy swamps of Europe and Asia. The backyard housed a ‘caravan of love’ and the gender-less bathrooms had a large moose hanging near the sinks.

A coaster at The Bearded Tit: Sydney, Australia

The best part about The Bearded Tit was its support for art. Local and international artists can apply to have their work displayed in a number of unique ways- from a wall to a curiosity cabinet. A ‘taxidermy tableaux’ surrounded a TV that was perfect for video art and resident artists could receive free bar food and 50% off drinks.

A small bakery on the Regent Street in Redfern: Sydney, Australia

After a round of champagne, Barret and I continued our circuitous journey home. Small family-owned restaurants, bakeries, and video rental relics lined the rest of Regent Street.

A terrace house in Erskineville: Sydney, Australia

It was dinnertime when we reached Erskineville, but neither of us wanted to cook so we walked through our neighborhood and towards the southern end of Newtown.

The Union Hotel in Newtown: Sydney, Australia

The Union Hotel had a lively cover band in the front and a large self-contained restaurant in the back. We ordered food and sat down near a father and his young daughter whom were both reading books. While there are more charming hotels further up King Street, Barret and I were both drawn to the classic brick Aussie hotel circa 1946.

The reason that I like Sydney’s inner west neighborhoods so much is that they are a perfect combination of historic buildings, livability, and community culture. It’s definitely not a cheap place to live, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better area for a stroll and a neighborhood pub crawl.

How to get to The Rose Hotel: 52-54 Cleveland Street, Chippendale NSW 2008

How to get to The Bearded Tit: 183 Regent Street, Redfern NSW 2016

How to get to the Union Hotel: 576 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042

The Newport Arms Hotel: Week 166

A meal at the Newport Arms Hotel: Pittwater, Australia

“Where should we ride this weekend?” Barret asked. He wasn’t feeling particularly inspired by the forest green dots on Google Maps.

We’d covered a lot of ground on our bikes, but we hadn’t made it to Sydney’s northern beaches. Because of this we were inspired to plan our most ambitious route yet- a 50km roundtrip with friends to the Newport Arms Hotel. Aside from a spectacular view of Pittwater Bay, the hotel is a perennial darling of ‘best pub food’ lists.

The Arms was first established in 1880 by Charles Edward Jennerett, an entrepreneurial man with his hands in real estate, trade, and government. His endeavors proved fortuitous because in 1881 he was considered eminent enough to host Princes Albert and George (later George V) on their visit to Sydney.

View from the patio of the Newport Arms Hotel: Pittwater, Australia

Over the last 134 years the hotel has undergone major refurbishment and changed ownership four times. Today its sprawling outdoor patio overlooks Scotland Island and the edge of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Jo enjoying a beer on the patio of the Newport Arms Hotel: Pittwater, Australia

It was not easy, after a heavy course of food and refreshments, to find the energy to return home. The temptation to spend the night and call in sick was strong, but we dug deep and peeled ourselves off the mint lounge chairs just before sunset. We still had 25km to go.

The final destination was gorgeous, but what continually surprises me about Australia is just how stunning the coast is no matter where you are. The beaches of Curl Curl and Dee Why are not on most tourist’s radars but their sapphire water and golden sand gleams just as brightly as the most popular southern beaches.One of Sydney's northern beaches: Warriewood, Australia

Portions of the route from Manly to Newport are also specifically set aside for bicyclists. From Dee Why the trail runs beneath tree canopies and along the Narrabeen Lakes. There’s something about the crunch of an unpaved route under my tires that brings me so much joy. It’s the sound of all great adventures.

How to get to the Newport Arms Hotel: 2 Kalinya Street, Newport NSW 2106

Bike path along the Narrabeen Lakes: Narrabeen, Australia

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