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Catch a game, eat a rump
Back when Balmain was a wharfie town you needed a pub on every corner to cater to the mighty thirsts of the dockworkers. These days, residents are still thirsty, but tastes have diversified from straight-laced lager and the house red. You’ve got the East Village offering craft beer and mussels, the Balmain Hotel doing cocktails, steamed Peking duck buns and high-end dining at the Welcome Hotel. But right in the thick of things is Dick's Hotel, a pub that’s sticking to its old-school guns. Inside you’ve got a hard-wearing, dark wooden bar, walls decked out in sports memorabilia, TVs tuned to the footy and stubby holders that you can buy on the spot. There are a few concessions made to craft beer fans with the likes of Young Henrys on tap, but we prefer to order up a tall glass of Redback and take it out into the massive beer garden. There’s a huge domed roof protecting one half of the paved courtyard from inclement weather, and if you’ve got a faithful friend of the four-legged variety that’s AOK: dogs are welcome in the open-air section. If you aren’t interested in the $15 special (Mon-Wed steaks, Thu schnitzel, Fri burgers), expect to pay $22 for prawn linguine or a barbecue chicken pizza, or snack on six-dollar garlic bread. There’s no theme at Dick’s, no cocktails and no fuss. They banked on friendly service, a decent feed and lots of space appealing to the masses. And it looks like they were right.