An institution in Neutral Bay for years, the Oaks Hotel attracts visitors with its majestic 70-year-old oak tree and the beer garden it stands in.
Housed in what was formerly a garage, the hotel also hides a garden pavilion, tucked away off the beer garden. And it's dazzlingly pretty. Greenery is suspended from the ceiling, windows look out on yet more unruly ferns, and many of the remaining surfaces and walls are crammed with plants that look like they were watered minutes ago. A set of cane lounges hug one wall, and white chairs and timber tables cover the rest of the space. The bar area provides a contrast with its splash of aqua tiles, dark wooden shelves and elegant bar stools.
The pub’s bistro sports rich tones, lots of dark wood, sandstone walls and an impressive display wine cellar. There's an in-house butcher, who operates out of the pub's 'meatatorium', the prized cut from which is the dry-aged rib eye on the bone served with roasted bone marrow, roasted potatoes and green beans. Also available is a rollcall of pub-grub staples such as fish and chips, pizza, pies, schnitzels and whopping burgers.
The drinks list is another reason to pay a visit. Mass brewers are out and beer now comes courtesy of small Australian craft concerns such as Lord Nelson, White Rabbit, Two Birds and 4 Pines. The wine list is equally considered, focused mainly on local drops.