There Will Be Beer :: The Friend In Hand

February 18th 2013

There Will Be Beer: A Guide to Sydney’s Pubs & Bars for Cheapskates and Drunkards



You know what pubs don’t have enough of these days?

Tacky shit.

You know why?

Because The Friend In Hand has quite clearly nicked every conceivable piece and nailed it to every inch of the pub.

Now, there are still a few pubs that have managed to keep a death grip on their tacky shit. You’ll no doubt walk into the odd bar and find street signs above the doors, a few notes of foreign currency stapled to the bar, maybe even a figurine or two of a duck with a swagman’s hat or a surfing Santa.

But I tell you this, my friends, for sheer volume and variety of Tacky Shit, you cannot beat The Friend In Hand.

It looks like a hoarder decorated the place, and I’m fairly sure that at least one of the walls is held together by the coasters, bottle caps, signs, photographs, stuffed animal heads and hundreds of other different nick-nacks that coat it like a thick layer of paint; all strung together and kept standing by a model train that does a lap of the room every few minutes.

Even outside in the beer garden, you cannot escape it. Old signs advertising everything from Neighbourhood Watch to squash courts and a rusting old bike reinforce the fence – as if they were trying to repel a zombie horde. (In the event of said zombie outbreak, I would recommend heading to The Friend In Hand, grabbing a beer, and sitting back with the other locals in your fort of street signs while the world descends into a brain-eating playground.)

As if to highlight the odd collection and strange nature of the pub, any given day/night you head in you’ll undoubtedly meet the pub’s mascot, George, a Cockatoo who spends his days chewing up the coasters, perched on the counter and tables, eyeing the crowd suspiciously, or aiding the staff behind the counter (usually by taking the occasional crap on their shoulder).

On my first night there, I went upstairs to take a look around, and on my way back down I found a hermit crab hiding in its shell on the third to last step. I was, at first, very confused as to how a hermit crab had managed to get from the beach, all the way into Glebe, and up the stairs.

I was later informed by another patron (who was a little more sober than I) that it probably a straggler from the crab races held on Wednesday nights.



Now, I was there on a Saturday afternoon, and I began laughing hysterically, thinking about this crab, hiding from the staff searching for it, days on end, as it tried to make its way to freedom, all the while the Great Escape tune was playing in my head…

This is the kind of weird place that The Friend In Hand is: where crabs act out scenes from Hogan’s Heroes, a Cockatoo eyes your partner, and where a pub with enough tacky shit can become a truly strange place with a unique atmosphere.





The Friend In Hand Hotel
58 Cowper St,
Glebe NSW 2037


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There Will Be Beer | Daniel Prior


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