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Sydney Pub Crawl: Manly to The Rocks (With Video)

Sydney Pub Crawl: Manly to The Rocks (With Video)

Beer? Yes please! Sydney boasts an excellent selection of pubs, particularly in The Rocks, which is the historic centre of the city. With so many to try we are left with only one option: Pub Crawl!!! A cloudy day had turned to a beautifully sunny afternoon and this seemed like the perfect time to enjoy the alcohol related delights that Sydney has to offer.


After a nice afternoon in Manly and a very tasty lunch at Fishmongers Fish & Chips shop we realised we had no real plans for the rest of the day. Heading to local micro-brewery “4 pines” we hatch a plan over a beer: To Pub crawl from our current location in Manly back to our accommodation in The Rocks… And so our improptu drinking escapade begins. Here is an outline of the crawl:

pub crawl Sydney: 4 Pines Brewery, manly.Hole 1: 4 Pines Brewing Company

 They brew their own beer, thats often a good start. Decor is good but the ESB (An English style Bitter) is pretty poor, and Megsy’s German Dark beer is also a little unpleasant. These guys sell their beer around Australia, thus far I have not a had one that I have particularly enjoyed – but its all a matter of taste I guess.

29/43-45 East Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095, Australia
(02)9976 2300, 


Hole 2: Manly Wharf Hotel

Great location! right on the water next to the ferry terminal – which may sound a little industrial, but it really isn’t. We enjoy the late afternoon sun with a bottle of Stone & Wood’s most excellent Pacific Ale, sadly in bottles as the draught selection at Manly Wharf leaves a little to be desired.

Manly Wharf/East Esplanade,Manly NSW 2095, Australia(02)9977 1266 ‎


Sydney Harbour at sunsetHole 3A: The Manly Ferry:

 The manly ferry is direct from Manly to circular Quay (and vice versa) in the heart of Sydney. For some reason the council have decided to ruin the fun of the average drinker by making the ferry un-licenced… we have a 30 minute wait without beer, but fortunately we do get to watch the sunset under the Harbour bridge whilst on the ferry – so that is a pleasant consolation! 


Hole 3b: Fortune of War

Claims to be the oldest pub in Sydney, amongst other claimants. After a little reading and research we can declare this is officially the oldest pub that has been continuously licensed on the same premises. its a complicated claim that was big news in Sydney a few years back and the FoW won the battle. As for the bar, a decent selection of beers and walking in you could be in London circa 1971… Some would say thats a good thing, others would disagree.

137 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia(02)9247 2714, 

pub crawl Sydney: Guinness at the Observer hotelHole 4: Observer Hotel

Wins the award for best bar staff of the pub crawl! We were thoroughly entertained by them throughout our short stay, and a pint of Guinness for $6.50 was a great deal too – and high quality! which is a little rare in Australia I have to say. Sadly the pub seems to be going through a quiet patch, business is not going so well, but they are really trying and the pub seemed totally under appreciated to me – so give it a visit!!

69 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia(02)9252 4169, 

Hole 5: Mercantile Hotel

 And here ladies & gentlemen is our winner for WORST pub of the crawl, not because we HAD to have one but because it deserves the title! The Mercantile is the oldest Irish pub in Sydney, but rather than exemplifying a long history of Irish bars abroad, this place is a massive let down. The staff were apathetic, the beer was off, the toilet was full of someones vomit and the decor was tired rather than classic. I would not be surprised if status rather than quality is what sustains this pub.

25 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia(02)9247 3570, 


Hole 6: Harbour View Restaurant

 We now arrive at a slightly more sophisticated bar altogether. After a number of historical venues, the harbour view, whilst situated in an old building, has been completely updated and modernised. Its a little too trendy for me, but probably quite acceptable to the average punter. Being located right underneath the harbour bridge gives it a unique perspective and is a selling point in itself. Still, I have no lasting impressions of the place – Average is a good word.

18 Lower Fort Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia(02) 9252 4111, 


pub crawl Sydney: Emu Pizza at the Australian HotelHole 7: The Australian Heritage Hotel

 Wins the award for best all-round pub of the crawl. A traditional pub that has been well maintained but hasn’t been destroyed by modernisation. A wonderful selection of craft beers on tap as well as many regular tipples for the non-beer fans. By this point we had become a little hungry and we happened to notice that on the pizza menu they had “Emu Pizza” on special. Having been looking for a while to taste the flesh of the emu, this was too good an opportunity to pass up. OMG, the pizza was delicious! The emu tastes strangely like beef and is a very dark meat, quite gamey, maybe more like venison in fact. Anyway, regardless of this unique topping I enjoyed the pizza very much, but they are on the pricey side for the appetite of the Five Dollar Traveller. 

100 Cumberland Street, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia(02) 9247 2229, 


Hole 8: The Hero of Waterloo

A classic venue… but not when we were there. What seemed like a small selection of hardcore local drinkers partially filled the space along the bar with a more than competent acoustic duo filling our air waves with their song. Maybe it is because we were many-a-drink in at this point, or maybe it is because the place was just a little lack-lustre, i don’t know. A standard selection of beer and a slightly dowdy atmosphere left me feeling a little dis-ingenuous towards this place but I can’t help feeling we didn’t see it at its best. 

81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point NSW 2000, Australia(02)9252 4553,


pub crawl Sydney: Beer o'clock at The Lord NelsonHole 9: The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel 

Wins the award for best beer of the crawl – at this point I may have been a little too drunk to make a fair judgement, which is why we returned to the Lord Nelson again to make sure. The beer is brewed on-site, always the best way to find some unique flavours, and these guys have taken some real care in producing phenomenal beverages. Simply exemplary beer. Of particular favour to our paletes was the “Summer Ale” and the “3 sheets”. As for decor and atmosphere, its an old-school naval style pub – wooden floors and beams, I love it! And the selection of clocks in the hallway, each labelled with a different City, possibly signifying that it is always beer o’clock somewhere, gives the impressions that the owners have a sense of humour, or at least a partial knowledge of geography. Just for the beer this place is a MUST visit.

19 Kent Street, Millers Point NSW 2000, Australia(02)9251 4044,


And what have we learnt? That drinking is fun, especially when it occurs in multiple venues – variety is the spice of life as they say. Sydney, unlike most of the rest of Australia, offers a real opportunity for a proper pub crawl, its a shame that most of the rest of the country is still trying to catch up!

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