There Will Be Beer :: Shady Pines
March 14th 2013
There Will Be Beer: A Guide to Sydney’s Pubs & Bars for Cheapskates and Drunkards
“The only thing that’s missing is a burly bloke missing a few teeth, dressed in denim and flannel, named Bubba.” -Fellow Drinker #1
Set your rifle at the door, hang your hat on the moose’s antlers, and get yourself a fine whiskey from the bar and discuss the day’s hunt.
But wait, you’re not in the deep south of the US. You’re in Darlinghurst.
It’s easy to forget that fact when you’re in Shady Pines Saloon; a bar that has been seemingly ripped straight off it’s foundations in Alabama and plonked right in the backstreets of Oxford St.
Decorated with the stuffed heads of deer and moose and almost every other animal from Noah’s Ark, you can be forgiven if you start talking with a southern drawl; you’d feel out of place if you didn’t.
If you’re disturbed by dead animals, you’re not going to be very comfortable here. It’s impossible to avoid them, almost as impossible to have a bad drink here.
Looking down a drinks menu as long as the American constitution, you’ll find pages upon pages of whiskeys, bourbons, ports, wines and beers, all of them priced from $7 upwards. While it’s not the cheapest place to drink, it is good value for a quality beverage.
My standard drink there has been Four Roses Whiskey (yummy) on the rocks. And unlike other bars where you get a couple of cubes that melt before you can find a seat, Shady Pines plonks a ice chunk that could sink the Titanic into your glass.
Take a seat under the moose head with your drink and customary free bowl of peanuts and enjoy the atmosphere and music.
“This place makes me think that I should take up skeet shooting…” -Fellow Drinker #2
Everything about Shady Pines adds to the country feel: the smell of peanuts and whiskey and pine wood; the music of Leadbelly and Tom Waits and Kitty, Daisy & Lewis; the cabinets of old whiskey bottles and jugs.
Everything makes sense.
The only thing that makes you realise that you’re not in the Deep South is that there are never any bar fights breaking out between truckers over someone eyeballin’ their woman. There’s no slack-jawed local playing ‘Dueling Banjos’ in a rocking chair. No poker tables in the back corners with gun fights breaking out because of an accusation of being a cheat. Basically no stereotypical Southern America bar behaviour that I’ve come to expect thanks to film and television.
And while it may take away from the feel of the bar, it does leave you with a sociable crowd, friendly bar staff, and possibly one of the happiest atmospheres to be found in a bar in Sydney.
Y’all Come Back Now!
Shady Pines Saloon
Shop 4, 256 Crown Street