Suspend your reality for a moment. Imagine it's 1980s Australia and you're a True Blue Bruce. This is truly your time. On the cusp of its five-year birthday, Hawke's Brewing Company, the brewery co-founded by former prime minister Bob Hawke, has thrown open the doors of a flagship venue, housed inside its newly built 2,100 square-metre brewery in Marrickville.
Dubbed the Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre in honour of the company’s late namesake, the club is a cathedralesque space adorned with enormous brew tanks, museum-like pool rooms, and a nostalgic RLS-style Australian-Chinese bistro from one of Sydney's top chefs.
The venue is delivering a full service bar, fronted by ten taps pouring Hawke’s core range beers, plus a rotation of new “One Hit Wonder” limited release styles. The addition of the venue’s Chinese-Australian bistro rounds out the Leisure Centre’s quintessential '80s-pub and community club experience. If your mind is immediately cast back to your childhood of sizzling black bean steak, honey prawns, san choy bao and deep-fried ice cream – in this case, an equally '80s-tastic Vienetta – you're spot on.
Developed by chef Nic Wong (Cho Cho San, CicciaBella), the restaurant, the Lucky Prawn, is serving up RSL classics made for a 2022 palate. Everything is designed to be shared across a Lazy Susan, with tank-fresh beers to wash it all down. If you want the true '80s Australiana experience though, bust out the golden microphone, aka Crown Lager, available for a lofty $14 a pop.
The multi-room venue was first proposed back in 2016, and was overseen as a pet project for the former prime minister, whose left-leaning policies (and record-breaking ability to smash a yard-glass in 11 seconds flat) earned him a space in Australian folklore as much as its political history. So dear was the project to Hawke's heart that the venue's pool room has been recreated so that we, the adoring public, can get a glimpse into the man, the myth, the legend's inner sanctum.