There Will Be Beer :: The Annandale
October 2nd 2013
A guide to Sydney’s Pub’s and Bars for Cheapskates and Drunkards
We all know the Annandale Hotel. It’s a hotel that has the same grit and determination as our grandparents; every time they look like they’re on their last legs, we find them a month later downing four schooners and hitting on the ladies’ lawn bowl team at the RSL.
Family metaphors would not work with any other pub, but the Annandale has been a major mark in the Sydney music & pub scene for so long that it can be hard not to feel a personal relationship with the place.
Chances are good that one in three people who read this attended their first ever music gig at the Dale. There’s an even better chance that your favourite band has already performed there at some point in the pub’s tumultuous history.
The Annandale has been threatened with closure more often than the North and South Korean border, and has had multiple fundraisers to fight off complaining neighbours and council fines and keep the doors open; the most recent being the Buy-a-Brick Campaign, which resulted in the much needed renovations to the Dale. The trampoline-like rotten wooden floor has been replaced with actual wood, the thick layers of paint have been stripped off exposing the bare bricks, now covered with placards bearing the name of all the legends who took part in the campaign. And, much to everyone’s delight, the pub has finally sealed up the pokie room (which also resulted in the loss of the smoker’s alley, but it’s a small sacrifice).
Out the back, Pub Cha operates in a lovely open space, and while the food prices are on the high side ($8 for three dumplings), everything is delicious and it’s a wonderful way to spend a sunny weekend.
Inside, you’ll find the average range of beers for the usual price of $5 and up. But the Annandale isn’t just a pub to go and drink at. It’s a landmark music venue. On almost any given night, you’ll be treated to a wide range of bands and artists, from the well-known to the obscure and undiscovered.
If you type ‘Annandale Hotel’ into Google, you’ll be given a huge result of articles saying either ‘Annandale closing’ or ‘Annadale saved’.
While the pub has recently been purchased by the Oscar Group and is currently safe from financial woes, we can’t help but wonder what may happen down the road. So where I would normally sum up my review with what kind of drinking experience you can expect, I will instead leave you with this:
The Annandale Hotel should receive the same reverence that any other Sydney icon does.
The Annandale Hotel is a pub which, no matter how you feel about it, is a cornerstone to the history and future of Sydney’s nightlife. And with the potential overhaul of the wasteland that is Parramatta Road on the horizon, I encourage you all to support the Annandale: check out a gig, attend an event there, or simply go and have a beer there to keep it alive and thriving.
Long live the ‘Dale!
17 Parramatta Road