Busting out the best kid-friendly, women-friendly and traditional-pub-goer-friendly beer garden in the inner west, the Riverview Hotel crew have put the former West End Hotel back on the map! It’s themed Pasifika with bright colours, thatched-roof cabanas, hanging macramé baskets and Astroturf; but keeps a local edge with murals from a Balmain artist and six Balmain Rugby boys living upstairs! Chef Brad Sloane walks the line between healthy eating and Sydney’s North American fixation. His compromise menu even includes marked gluten-free options, like a Crispy Raw Salmon Taco ($15). For the (mostly unrenovated) front bar crew, there’s updated pub favourites like BBQ Texas Sirloin Steak with Fried Potatoes, Bacon and Jalapeno ($24). For the Yank-o-philes: Fried Chook with Sweetcorn Succotash ($24) and the ubiquitous pub slider – Wagyu, Cheddar and Green Tomato Chutney ($6). The Asian-inspired street food like fluffy Steamed Buns with Hoi Sin Glazed Duck, Cucumber and Green Onion ($18/2) and Chicken Larb ($16) lettuce cups scrub up best. Drink one of sixteen on-tap beers (including White Rabbit and Kirin) or delve into bartender Istvan Orosz’s cracker cocktails. His frothy topped Cane Colada ($18) is better than the original; and the Smokey Maple Old Fashioned ($18) also hits the spot. Don’t forget to check out their dedicated retro pinball room.
The Balmain Hotel
74 Mullens Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9810 7500 facebook.com/TheBalmainHotel
Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$-$$$