Royal Hotel Randwick
This stately two-storey heritage listed hotel looks like a country pub. Built in 1887, it’s wrapped by wide verandahs. The downstairs one is the perfect place to sink a ten-buck Frozen Margarita ($10) on a sunny day, watching the people of Randwick pass by.
Proving neatly that you can get crabs, even if you use protection, I gloved up and donned a bib for the launch of House of Crabs. In a flurry of fairy lights and crab pots, they've taken over the first floor of The Norfolk Hotel; and suddenly Sydney has it’s first American seafood boil (common in coastal areas of the United States, like Louisiana and Chesapeake Bay).
Woolwich Pier Hotel
Perched on a balcony at the end of a peninsula my dining companion dubbed “the tonsil of Sydney Harbour” I survey the view. The wide, comfortable verandah affords a view of the Iron Cove, Anzac and Sydney Harbour bridges; a vista only improved by fireworks (thanks to the Sydney Opera House’s 40th Birthday).
The Ivanhoe Hotel
With alcohol-fuelled violence plaguing Manly, this pub took a clever way out. It started with a total renovation by Paul Kelly, the man responsible for The Bourbon and The Oaks. The resulting airy, modern hotel has a whitewashed and gently weathered Hamptons feel, with multiple spaces to enjoy, including The Pines, a nautical level fitted out by another big name - Sibella Court.
Royal Albert Hotel
If you’re not into cavernous pubs that aim to cater to everyone (and sometimes end up making nobody feel at home) check out this back-street local. Sure, it was quick to jump on the dumpling train, but with the dust having settled on the proverbial hanging birdcages and bike; it shines brightly as an intimate public house where beer lovers unite.