Going to Sydney is always fun, but there is such a large amount to pack into a small time. As I grew up in country NSW, most of my old friends went south to Sydney, whilst I came north to good old Bris Vegas. This means that I have to catch up with my old school friends, my family friends, my family (my sis lives in Syd), and my new friends and attend whatever event it is that brought me to Syd, usually in the space of one weekend. Hectic.
Luckily, recently, I travelled to Sydney two weekends in a row so managed to squeeze in a bit more catching up than usual. Old friends suggested having lunch on a Sunday, which usually suits me just fine. In this case, I was feeling the night before, so probably would have been more fun at dinnertime. Oh the benefit of hindsight. Anyway, they chose to go The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst which, according to one of my beer aficionado twitter mates, is probably one of the best beer pubs in Australia. Whilst you probably know by now that I have tried to like beer and just can't, my friends could be the complete opposite. Let's call them beer swillers. They were right at home at the The Local. Unfortunately, I wasn't. I was hungover, tired and not in a positive, 'trying to like things I don't really like' mood. I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I did not drink a beer whilst I was here. Oh shush. I can hear you groaning. I have already been subjected to a barrage of insults from my friends too. But you needn't worry, they tried enough beer for the all of us.
The reason I wasn't totally annoyed by going to a pub that specialises in beer(ahem, apart from the fact that I am a very tolerant friend!), was because they also have a really good name for their burgers too. Burgers and I are friends, and even better burgers are my ultimate hangover food! We arrived and had to wait outside for a few minutes because the pub only opens at 12 on a Sunday- worth knowing. We were one of the first groups in, but the place started to fill up quickly for people who looked to be lunching and starting their Sunday sessions. The rooftop bar (which I hear is great) was closed due to rain, but we managed to snare a little side room with a tall table and chairs that seated us all. This room is great and I would encourage you to grab a spot in there if you can! The place is quaint and decked out like a local of years gone by, with some really nice modern artsy touches- like floating birdcage lights that stand as a reminder that you are in Darlinghurst.
According to the beer swillers, their beer range is amazing. They have 20 beers on tap at any one time, and too many bottled beers to count which are both constantly changing. Even their website says 'The menu is no longer available because our menu changes too frequently'. My friends grabbed a couple of pints, which were recommended to them based on a couple of questions the very relaxed and lovely bartender asked them. Little Possum (who you may remember stars as my P.I.E in some previous posts) wasn't totally happy with her outcome, but the others were quite chuffed. It was quite clear that the boys at the bar know their stuff.
Next on the agenda was the food. The main menu wasn't on offer as it was a lunch time, but we were fine to choose from the bar menu which offers 10 inch pizzas, burgers and a few other bar snacks. It was the burgers we were after. Whilst I went with a lemon lime and bitters, the others decided to have the beer that was best matched with their burgers, which were suggested by the bar staff when we ordered. Sorry, didn't write them down, but I'm sure they will be more than happy to help you out if you visit.
I had to have the beef burger, ironically the 3 beer beef burger( I don't know where the third beer comes in?!). Aecht Shlenkerla Rauchbier, gruyere cheese, tomato, rocket w Hofbrau Munich Helles battered onion rings & a parmesan ailoi w rosemary roasted potato wedges for $16.5. Onion rings on a burger? Lemme attem!
C decided that he was in a white meat mood, so went for the chicken burger; thai basil, chilli and lime leaf, rocket, bridge road Chevalier Saison chilli jam & rosemary roasted potato chips w parmesan aioli, also $16.5.
The others ordered the beef and chicken burgers too, and some tapasy time items that they enjoyed but snavelled too quickly for me to photograph. Ok, perhaps I was a little slow.
Our burgers arrived in very reasonable time, although were served to us by one of the bar stuff who had a little bit of the old attitude going on. Perhaps he had a big 'night before' too. Biting in, I was expecting big things. Onion rings on a burger, plus all the hype should really make for something amazing. Unfortunately my patty was very dry and the onion ring lacked any form of flavour. The aioli was tasty and the rocket fresh, saving the burger from being completely drab. I don't think it was the beer flavour that put me off either because it wasn't a very polarizing taste. It was more the way the burger was cooked. The wedges which also included sweet potato wedges, were good, and very popular among my table mates- they were stolen off my plate before I could blink (what was that I said about being a tolerant friend!?!)
C's burger was better. The patty was moist and the chilli and basil flavours were a nice touch and meant that the chilli jam was quite at home on the burger. Whilst C enjoyed his burger, he wasn't sure it was worthy of the all the hype - our friends were telling us that they had been awarded numerous times with things such as 'best burgers in Sydney' but I couldn't find anything that said exactly which awards they had won.
After the burgers, we stayed a while whilst my friends sipped on their pints, which they were very pleased with. The atmosphere started to liven up lots and the venue showed off how awesome it is as a spot to come and chill out with friends whilst having a good beer, if that's your kind of thing. Even when it's not my kinda thing, I can see this place has it going on in terms of the beer selection and the atmosphere. The service was snappy and fun (except for captain attitude) and whilst I was a little let down by the food, it was reasonable for a pub feed.
So tell me readers, do you know anyone who doesn't like beer or am I the odd one out?
When to go: For a Sunday sesh or at night when the rooftop bar is open. There is also another Local Taphouse located at St Kilda if you are down that way and in need of a brew.
The Local Taphouse
122 Flinders Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9360 0088