A pub crawl is a wonderful thing. You travel from bar to bar, pub to pub, a drink in each one… it’s a night of endurance, a night of attrition against sobriety.
I saw something like this while in Tuscany. But as the Italian ‘youths’ (god, I feel old using that word!) bar hop, they don’t hit the beers. Instead, they will have a digistivo – a grappa or sambuca – then move on. They might even have a glass of wine. I even saw one young lad order an espresso!
It was an eye-opener for me! Bar hopping – or the pub crawl – is a favourite drinking tradition in the UK and Australia. The idea is to have a beer in each pub in an area, just to see if you can do it!
The pub crawl I’m showcasing today is a personal favourite, as it’s in my neighbourhood. This is:
The Devonshire Street pubcrawl.
This crawl is mini compared to some, but there are a number of great pubs and bars to sample as you go along. So let us begin.
1. Tipple Bar & Bistro
Unfortunately, this venue no longer exists.
Technically not on Devonshire Street, this Chalmers Street charmer is relatively new. Its saloon-like atmosphere and stylishly simple look is in keeping with the small bar epidemic crossing Sydney at the moment. It’s cool, low-key and a great place to kick things off.
2. Central Tavern
Also on Chalmers, this is a pit-stop just to follow the rule of ‘no pub may be passed’! The Central Tavern a simple place but with incredible happy hour deals. Fill your boots before moving on.
This sprawling city pub has quite a few good things going for it. Firstly, it’s right next to the Devonshire Street exit from Central Station. Secondly, its bar staff are real characters and very friendly. Thirdly, the beer garden out the back is huge. It does get a bit smoky but there’s plenty of room and if the upstairs area is open, things get even better with colonial feel furniture and open-air seating.
Oh and the food’s not bad either – though eating is cheating.
On the very apex of Chalmers and Devonshire Streets, this begins the Devonshire Street crawl proper!
This once shambolic crud-hole is now a beautiful pub, but it still has lots of the character the old slum used to have. Downstairs has all you’d expect in a pub and upstairs what you’d want in a bar bistro. There is also a roof bar, which is heated in the winter and cooled with magical vapor sprays in the summer.
The third in its line of L’il Darlin bars, this cute cocktail and tapas bar may not suit all crowds, but the drinks and food are well worth a stop for. Its retro ‘20s feel gives this spot that happy hipster feel that sets it apart.
Once the sadly nose-diving Clarenden Hotel, the new look and fresh feel of the Dove & Olive promises great things.
This has always been a great space, with lots of room on the ground floor and even more upstairs. There’s even a rooftop verandah. I always had a soft spot for the Clarenden, so I hope the D&O works out. Happy hour’s from 5-7pm Mon-Sat, so if it’s your round, better get the troops moving!
A Surry Hills Institution, the Shakey’s a real local’s pub. I doubt the downstairs has changed much since… ever. There’s a kitchen diner area out the back or you can eat your $12.50 meal (it used to be $10!) upstairs. On the 1st floor, it’s like drinking in someone’s really run-down front room, with lots of squashy sofas and chairs. Great stuff!
Another Surry Hills treasure, the Trinity sells great beer and great food too. The beer garden with its picket fence and jasmine hedges… will not be of interest to you by this stage! Get a seat, hunker down over your beer and soak up the atmosphere of this great pub in the Surry Hills heartland.
And here ends your guided tour – congratulations! You made it!
You have options now, lots of them. Turn left down Crown Street to find the Clock Hotel and beyond.
If you carry on down Devonshire, you’ll find Bourke Street. Turn left and you’ll come to the Carrington. Go in here. You’ll LOVE it!
Turn right down Crown and you’ll eventually come to the Crown Hotel, a scary pub really, but it serves beer! Better, is a short walk left down Cleveland Street to Bar Cleveland – it’s open late, too. Or the choice of curry is proffered like a place of ambrosia to the gods on this, the Surry Hills-Redfern border! I’d recommend Maya de Daba.
Whatever your choices, I hope you enjoy my manor. I love Surry Hills, so please take care of her.
Let me know how you got on – or tell me about your favourite pub crawl! Leave a comment here!