122 Flinders St
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
(02) 9360 0088
Steve, Guy and Electra really love their beer. And though you may not know them yet, they’re sure to be your new drinking buddies at The Local. It's their taphouse, after all.
Beer bars aren’t really a new trend; though many of Sydney’s beer-specific watering holes like Red Oak and the Lowenbrau exist in the CBD or the Rocks. Surry Hills and Darlinghurst hipsters, vagabonds and...Well, locals, now have a beer bar (aka. ‘Taphouse’) all to themselves.
Taking over the old Palace pub space, slightly off the beaten Oxford Street track, This Sydney instalment of the original Local in St Kilda, Melbourne has created a space that not only retains an old-school pub vibe, but includes features like bird-cage light fixtures, vintage store mirrors and sloping dark wood that hints at something a little special going on here, too.
If your knowledge of beer stops at Coopers, be prepared for a lesson in beer-onomics. Helpful staff and wood-bound (man-friendly) 32-page beer bibles will take you through an encyclopaedic range of Aussie and across-the-pond European and American beers.
You’ll also gain a crash course in everything from what to look for when tasting, ingredient descriptions and distinctions between lagers and ales and their various guises. Feel like boning up on your study? Take a (beer) flight through stouts, pilsners and bocks with a sample paddle, which will allow you to try up to five beers from the menu so you can decide if you’re a Grand Ridge Moonshine or a Rogue Old Crustacean.
If all that study makes you hungry, there’s a beer-friendly menu ranging from charcuterie (cured meats, house made pate, marinated veggies), vegetarian antipasto boards and nibble-worthy whitebait and chilli-dusted frites.
In the mood for mussels? There are three styles to choose from, including the rich, saucy tomato-based Provencal featuring a generous heap of meaty mussels in a spicy, herby Bridge Road Chevalier Saison broth. Be sure to ask for extra bread because this broth is worth savouring.
Like the beer book, the menu contains a hefty range of choices including juicy gour-met burgers, complete with beer battered onion rings, artisan style pizzas, fresh seafood and Viking-friendly dishes like charred bratwurst and a bang-up tender, medium rare eye fillet. Marinated in beer of course. And which beer to drink with your meal? The biblically-proportionate menu has an answer for that, too: each menu item has a suggested suitable bitter, weizen or saison to for you to sip on.
There might seem to be a bit of information overload happening at this posh pub, but don’t let it faze you. Take in as much or as little information as you want – these guys are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love of the brew with anyone who wants to know. But as the beer book (page 28, paragraph 3) dictates, ‘There are no beer experts, just beer drinkers with opinions.’
The Local Taphouse may not necessarily be your local, but if you’re in any way keen on beer, you’re sure to find the trip worthwhile.