Eat & Drink

Bar Fly

THE COMMONS
32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst (02) 9358 1487 thecommons.com.au
WHILE THE EXTRA top shelf spirits listed in the Downstairs Bar and the popular classic cocktails were enticing, the Saturday night birthday celebrations of our large group started with carafes ($28) of The Common’s Spritz (Aperol and Prosecco with slices of fresh cut citrus, orange blossom water and soda). Then we pretty much stuck to NSW beer: Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale ($8). Someone ventured further with a Bloody Mary, which was tasty after he fought his way through the garnish: fresh chilli and cucumber slices as well as the traditional celery. We appropriated the open-air front courtyard with its wooden crates: upturned as low tables and our seats. Table service enabled our chitchat without disruption – very good fun. However next time I’ll try different bar snacks or share plates, as The Commons’ Ploughman’s was a lesser species.


PUMPHOUSE
17 Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour 02 8217 4100 pumphousebar.com.au
Sitting opposite me guest MR X tells me that way back when in 1985 when the Pumphouse first opened, he was banned from this historic venue after doubling up on too much Thunderbolt. I, on the other hand, am having my first taste of the most famous of the four Pumphouse’s own boutique brews: named after NSW bushranger Captain Thunderbolt (Frederick Wordsworth Ward). It’s a dark intriguing rich blend of malt and caramel. From the other side of the bar, beer enthusiast Mitch tells me about his top pick: “There’s a reason the Feral Brewery’s Hop Hog was voted the best craft beer in Australia. It’s the best well rounded IPA (Indian Pale Ale) that I’ve had.”  Other craft microbreweries that are regularly featured by the Pumphouse include Riverside, Holgate, The Little Brewing Company, Bridge Road, Murrays and Illawarra Brewing Company.