Everyone knows Leichhardt’s reputation as Sydney’s little Italy. It’s home to famed red-sauce joint Bar Italia where ordering a skim or soy coffee gets you nothing but side-eye. But what Leichardt does not have is a glowing record for excellent pubs. There is the infamous Bald Faced Stag that still showcases pub rock, but the recent fashion for family-friendly pub relaunches has skipped this Inner West suburb. Until now. The Royal – owned by the same people as the Glenmore and the Australian Heritage Hotel down in the rocks – has had some work done. Upstairs they have opted for a ’50s botanical theme with bright fern-print carpet, hanging plants and big, arched windows that let the afternoon sun pour in. There’s also a white-brick, open-air atrium with a wall of pot plants that is popular for after-school sessions – mum has wine, kids have chips, everyone is happy. Up here they only have four taps, reserved for Carlton, Blue Moon, Cascade bright ale and Peroni, but they’ll also whip you up a cocktail like the Hendrick’s Tea Cup with rose-and-apple tea and cucumber. Downstairs is a totally different kettle of fish. Once the striped green carpet gives way to the rich tessellated patterns of a more traditional pub rug you’ll find yourself in familiar territory. There are bentwood chairs and big-screen TVs, plus a gambling nook tucked around the corner. Fleetwood Mac and Bernard Fanning are crooning softly and there are old Reschs posters everywhere. It’s a nice old pub to spend an afternoon in.