Woolwich Pier Hotel
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Watch the river roll by at this elegant watering hole
This grand old establishment on the Woolwich peninsula is how we imagine a country club would be minus the golf or horses – though sailing is a popular pastime in this well-heeled neck of the woods.
Chic renovations have seen colourful cabanas installed by the decorative lawn and a raised terrace built in the shade of a great tree – this is where weekly high tea happens. There’s a sombre, elegant sports bar set up at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the first-floor cocktail bar boasting a wraparound verandah that looks over the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. But it’s in the cavernous main bar, trussed in golden timbers, that people congregate.
They know their audience so the seniors’ fish, chips and wine lunch special carries on, and even if you’re a spring chicken it’s worth dropping $25 on a plate of crisp battered Dory, skinny fries, creamy tartare and a pot of mushy peas. On a blustery evening order the fat, rustic pork and fennel sausages with masses of peas, gravy and mash, plus four onion rings to add crunch. Good news, high rollers: they still have that 40-buck rib eye on the menu too if you’re in need of a serious iron boost.
Carlton and Coopers are yours for the asking, but they aren’t wed to the mega-brewery set, so you can slake that thirst with Young Henrys, 4 Pines and Matilda Bay brews, or a Peroni if you’re a sucker for tall, cool Europeans.
They may be keeping things classy in this neck of the woods, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your little ones along to join the activities out on the lawn on Saturday lunchtimes, or indulge yourself in the grand tradition of mid-week pub trivia on Wednesdays. And even if you don’t win the Monday meat raffle you can console yourself with a $14 steak.
Sometimes the revival of an old pub gets met with resistance from locals who’ve gotten set in their ways, but the Woolwich’s new look has been met with full-throated approval – just try getting in the door on a weekend if you don’t believe us.
2 Gale St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 11am-11pm; Thu-Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-10pm|