There Will Be Beer :: East Village Hotel
April 4th 2013
A Guide to Sydney’s Pubs & Bars for Cheapskates and Drunkards:
Let’s face it. The only people who drink in Balmain are people who live in Balmain.
I wish it wasn’t true, as it has some excellent watering holes, but we have to face facts.
If Balmain were a body part, it would be a scrotum, tucked away between the legs of a cross dresser a la Buffalo Bill’s (NSFW) ‘I’d Fuck Me‘ scene in Silence of the Lambs. Sure, scrotums are fun, but getting to them can be more trouble then they’re worth.
But for those with the will and determination, you will find a wonderful treasure tucked in between the thighs of East Balmain (I have a feeling I’m going to regret using the scrotum analogy).
The East Village Hotel, for those who cannot deduce the location of the pub from its cryptic name, is planted uphill from the East Balmain wharf on Darling St.
Now, beware, it’s not cheap. Beers are $6+. However, you won’t find the usual trinity of VB, Carlton & Hahn here. No, instead you’ll find a range of craft beers on tap, as well as some limited release brews. And while I’ll take a cheap beer any day, it’s nice to shake up your beer palette from the regular swill four dollars can get you (no offense VB, Carlton and Hahn).
With a tasty beer in hand, take a seat and drool over the menu (both food and drink). I didn’t see a single thing on there that I wouldn’t happily eat, even if the prices are as high as the beers (Entrees $12+, Mains $20+). They’re not unreasonable prices – although you could find cheaper, I highly doubt you’ll get such a range of orgasmic delights.
The menu’s saving grace is the nightly specials. I was there on Wednesday night, and was treated to half price mussels.
After a few beers, a 1kg pot of Thai green mussels for a measly $13 is just what the doctor ordered.
Now, the pub isn’t very well sound proofed, so you’ll be shouting to talk to someone even when the place is only half full. But that’s a minor gripe, and apart from an 11pm close and the whole scrotum placement in Balmain, there aren’t any other negatives I can think of. There is also a nice sized outdoor area with those old cast iron chairs and tables that were big in the 80s and 90s and are probably still rusting away in your backyard.
I was informed by a friend I was drinking with that the pub used to be a Belgian beer house, and, to be frank, I’m glad it’s been converted back into a local haunt. While I enjoy a tasty bowl of goulash and a stein of beer as much, if not more than the next man, Sydney simply has enough of them.
What it doesn’t have enough of are pubs that cater specifically to the locals. Bars that you can stumble into and find your seat at your table and enjoy your regular drink, which the bartender will start pouring as soon as he/she sees you walk in.
No words need be exchanged between the two of you, except the customary “What’s doing?”
Sure, East Village Hotel may be a hard to reach scrotum, but it’s a scrotum I’ll gladly reach for any day. (Yeah, I do regret this analogy…)
East Village Hotel
82 Darling St
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