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Josh Lees, The Royal Albert Hotel
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Bartenders’ guides to Sydney’s secrets: Josh Lees, The Royal Albert Hotel

Bartender/deputy manager Josh shares what's best on the streets of Sydney

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An alumnus of top pubs including Keg and Brew and Dove and Olive, Josh is 2IC at the Royal Albert – the little backstreets Surry Hills pub famous for dumplings, cheese kranskies, craft spirits and craft beers. Here, Josh is offering Negronis and Espresso Martinis on tap – literally.

Josh eats at: PHD, Marrickville
“If I ever want pho I jump on a train to Marrickville for PHD. It’s amazing man. I love Vietnamese noodle soup, and the pho at PHD is probably the best. There is something really special, clean and delicious about the broth. You feel like a million dollars afterwards.”

Josh drinks at: Keg and Brew, Surry Hills
“I was the manager here and we changed it from practically the last stronghold of old-school Surry Hills pubs to a craft beer pub. The locals were grumbling, but we changed their view on craft beer – now they’re drinking stout and pilsners from different places that they would never have glanced at before. And it’s open till 3am, so I can go there after work.”

Josh hunts at: Spice Alley, Chippendale
“I hang out here pretty regularly. It’s awesome, like a hawker market with lanterns and live music, and they’ve turned these tiny little old houses into eating areas and shops and galleries. The Chinese and Thai and Malaysian food stalls are really good.”

Josh gathers at: Daiso Central Park, Chippendale
“It’s like an Asian-infused two-dollar shop on steroids. I basically go there for anything that I need. Almost everything is $2.80 and if you need a pair of nail scissors, or ear warmers in the shape of mushrooms, you know they’ll have them.”

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