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Lifestyle : Pubs and Clubs 2012
1HERSA1 E016 122 Flinders Street Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (02)9360 0088 www.thelocal.com.au AG4965945AA-170412 good living special report Pubs & Clubs The local goes global Counter culture . . . (clockwise from main) Marble Bar at Wests New Lambton in Newcastle; Hotel Steyne licensee Ged Dore; ; the choice of on-tap beers is growing. Photos: James Brickwood, Max Mason-Hubers There's a place for tradition, but most publicans are moving with the times, writes Ellen Connolly. Wander into Erskineville's Rose of Australia Hotel and you will find all the trappings of a traditional Aussie pub. Delve and there are some surprising additions -- among them an intimate cocktail bar and alfresco dining area. ''It's all about diversifying our product offering,'' publican Scott Leach says. The front bar retains its classic 1930s art deco style, but other parts of the pub have been modernised. Leach's establishment is one of a growing number of pubs and clubs that have evolved to cater for a more diverse crowd. ''Once you had tiled walls and a 'tied house' where the hotel only served beer from just one brewery,'' says Leach, who is also president of the Australian Hotels Association in NSW. ''We as an industry have definitely moved on from that scenario. Now we have the rise of craft premium beers -- it's not uncommon to find 14 to 20 beers on tap in some premises . . . as well as sophisticated wine lists.'' The Local Taphouse, in Darlinghurst, is one such, offering a choice of about 90 beers from around the world. Other long-established hotels, such as Hotel Steyne , in Manly, have had multimillion-dollar facelifts to attract a new clientele. ''[Hotel Steyne] has been given a drastic transformation from the fun nightclub and booze bar it was,'' says publican Ged Dore. ''We're following European and British trends where hotels are divided into lots of small spaces, catering for a wide range of people from young families with kids to partygoers.'' Upstairs is a cider and rum bar that serves 16 ciders and 100 types of rum. The Steyne also has a sports bar, a gaming area and a live music section. Balmain's Welcome Hotel entices patrons with Guinness and oyster nights. On Tuesday pie night, pies come with a choice of 12 wines and 13 beers. At the White Hart, in Neutral Bay, a modern English-style pub, which opened 14 months ago, cocktails are a big drawcard, says co-owner Grant Collins. The White Hart sells an average of 800 cocktails a week but also is renowned for its craft beers and 42 types of gin. ''The whole craft beer movement has been huge over the last 18 months . . . and gin is also back,'' Collins says. He decided to take advantage of the public's growing interest in tasting and learning about imported beers. ''We wanted a warm, inviting concept where you could get dressed up on a Friday night or come in for a few beers early in the week in shorts and thongs. I think diversity in the industry is good. Small bars are very in at the moment, but we built the venue for longevity and feel we are on the way to achieving this.'' White Hart makes its own ginger beer and brews traditional English mead (made from honey and wine) to be served in large wooden cups. Clubs across NSW have adapted to changing times. In Newcastle, Wests New Lambton has unveiled the classy Marble Bar, which serves French and Australian wines, cocktails, tapas and has live music. ''It's a beautiful space with chandeliers and red velvet chairs, and is attracting a younger audience into the club,'' group marketing manager Clair Emerton says. Next door is a chocolate bar with a chocolate fountain. It serves hot chocolate, champagne and pastries. There will always be a place for traditional heritage-style pubs, but Leach says hotels must cater for a broad range of customers in order to stay viable. ''Hotels are all about being local -- serving their communities,'' he says.
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