Being the oldest continuously licensed pub in the city, the Lord Nelson has had a lot of practice at being awesome. (Sure, the Fortune of War Hotel
is older, but there was that whole getting-closed-down-and-demolished-due-to-the-plague thing so the Nelson has the longest, unbroken run.) They brew their own beer here and a fresher pint in Sydney is a tall ask. There are six mainstay brews: the summery beginners’ Quayle ale, the bright 3 Sheets, the British-inflected Trafalgar pale ale, the full-flavoured, spicy Victory Ale, Nelson’s Blood for the Guinness/porter fans, and the complex, full o’ flavour Old Admiral. Plus there’s always a seasonal brew to keep things interesting. Not a beer drinker? These guys aren’t the type to judge. Instead they’ll simply whip you up a ‘Nelson Nudie’ cocktail using fresh bottled juices. Prep your stomach with the Nelson’s primer of choice: the beef pie, which comes perched atop a mashed-potato raft in a sea of gravy, and sporting a tamo-shanter of mushy peas. Or if you prefer to graze they do a proper ploughman’s from 3pm. During the week this historic old pub is popular with a tailored corporate crowd, but on a Sunday this should be your first port of call for a leisurely pint or two. Get there mid-afternoon and you’ll miss the lunch and dinner crowds, and the noise, and score yourself a prime seat from which to observe the curious mix of well-heeled locals and backpackers who’ve tracked down an authentic Sydney experience. If you’re after history, make sure you take a poke around the picture-and-plaque-laden sandstone walls. And if you’ve really made a day and night of it, the Lord Nelson also offers beds for $180 a pop.