A heritage pub stay in Sydney
I recently spent a weekend in Sydney to catch an incredible performance from Megan Mullally (gay icon, Broadway baby, Will & Grace's Karen Walker). Megan's show coincided with my best friend's birthday so I decided to arrange a mini holiday. Best friend of the year, am I right? Born and bred north Queensland girls, a trip to Sydney is still a real thrill for the both of us even though I now live in the ‘big smoke' (Brisbane). Flying out on Friday night we encountered the usual airport dramas. Our flight was delayed by an hour and a half, but luckily I had already called our hotel and asked what to do if this happened. Let's call that Tip 1. We decided to wander into another airline's lounge for a drink and a chat to pass the time. By some twist of fate we went back to our gate 40 minutes early to check the status of the flight only to find nearly everyone had boarded. Tip 2: don't wander too far out of earshot of your airline's announcements or you risk being the people who hold everyone else up.
We finally made it to Sydney, walked out into the warm night air to see half the city's population lined up at the taxi rank. Hightailing it inside, we followed the signage, purchased our tickets and jumped on a train. Tip 3: trains in Sydney are your friend. FINALLY, we got to the Australian Heritage Hotel at The Rocks. The first thing you need to know about the Heritage is that it is above all else a pub. Top marks to the patrons at the bar who let me squeeze to the front to ask how to check in. For the record, the entry to the accommodation is a wooden door on Gloucester Street across from some quaint brick terrace units. After a $50 key deposit, a chipper gentleman in a checkered shirt lead us up a spiralling, carpeted staircase and gave us the grand tour.
The Australian Heritage Hotel is what I imagine boarding houses in Enid Blyton novels to be like. It's a little rough around the edges but there's a whole lot of character in those walls. The hotel is a century old this year - it's seen some things, man. Your choices of bunking include twin room, queen room or double room and the bed and breakfast experience is continental (toast, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, juice, tea and coffee) in the common room. The common room was the highlight for me. As welcoming as any home lounge room, the kitschy decor is the perfect complement to a lazy night in playing chess, watching a movie or just lounging about before your next outing.
Downstairs, the pub menu is quite impressive, boasting a range of occa fare like pepper kangaroo pizza and award-winning pavlova. The double-sided bar is well stocked and sold me with an extensive range of local ciders and ales. The pub comes to life early on a weekend with celebrations, lunchtime beers and casual beverage sessions, especially on Sundays. The festivities close up at midnight so if you're hoping to get an early night, you might want to rethink that.
Location-wise the hotel is ace. Within walking distance, we were able to enjoy a pancake breakfast at Pancakes On The Rocks (highly recommended), peruse the Saturday morning markets and make our way to Circular Quay to jump on a city-bound train. You can also do the tourist thing by strolling from the Sydney Harbour Bridge just down the road from the hotel and around to the Sydney Opera House for some token selfies. As two young women travelling solo, we felt comfortable to get to and from the hotel by foot and enjoy a big bowl of wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli source al fresco amongst fellow revellers.
While you probably wouldn't want to bring your mum here, the Australian Heritage Hotel is ideal, down to earth, good old fashioned no frills accommodation. If you're not a discerning traveller, you'll probably enjoy the hotel's quirky charms. After all, it's just somewhere to drop your bags and sleep off the day's adventures. Falling asleep to the sounds of Jimmy Barnes and Men at Work floating up from the pub is truly the great Australian lullaby.
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