Sydney does a lot of things well, but the warm comfort of an ancient British pub is not one of them. We hold our own with deeply Australian pubs like the Courthouse Hotel and the Unicorn, but a George Orwell-approved, timber-lined, ceramic stein sporting Old Britannia tavern is a rarer beast.
Happily for all the expats in Sydney, and a fair few locals who grew up on the idea of Churchill's England, someone is opening a 19th Century-style tavern in the heart of the CBD, namely Sydney bar legend Mikey Enright and Julian Train (the Barber Shop).
They're calling your new after-work haunt the Duke of Clarence, and the look and feel of the venue is care of British set designer Sara Mathews, who also is responsible for the frilly, crimson glory of the Moulin Rouge sets. They scavenged building materials from old pubs, churches and warehouses around England - we're talking floorboards from the 1850's – and Victorian tiles for the walls. You will be able to perch up at a 12-metre timber bar or in a stained-glass library corner, and damn right it'll have a proper fireplace too.
Gird your liver because they've sourced 500 spirits from the British Isles, and they'll be pouring cask ale from elaborate taps so you can pretend you're in a Dickensian novel. Those Victorian-era twists on the cocktail list will have you considering buying braces and a top hat before you know what's happening to you.
Save yourself the flight home, because a little bit of Old Blighty is setting up shop on Clarence Street.
The Duke of Clarence opens in November.
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