Hyde Park House
Hotel William was never a fancy place. The most extravagant part of the dingy pub on William Street, located at the back of the Australian Museum, was the lime-cordial-green neon sign that flickered out front. But it reopened, revamped, in 2018 following one of inner Sydney’s biggest pub makeovers – tallying in at $5 million. Reintroducing itself as Hyde Park House, the four-level extravaganza is run by Warren Livingstone, the publican also behind Waverley’s Charing Cross.
The ground level’s burgundy carpet and pokie machines were removed, replaced with a down-to-earth but polished pub named Public Bar. The brief was to restore the pub to its former 1919 glory. The design is simple and clean, with vintage beer posters lining tiled walls, and timber doors and windows that look out onto William Street. An old-school circular bar takes pride of place in the centre of the room.
The menu at Public Bar doesn’t challenge and appeases the masses, with wild mushroom arancini balls, crunchy fried school pawns and a dollop of lemon aioli, and succulent chicken wings with chipotle mayo. To follow there’s a classic rump steak with fries (the McDonald’s kind), beer-battered fish and chips, and a generously sized chicken parmigiana. Get stuck into the selection of “stone-baked” pizza too, from the classic margherita (with fior di latte, basil and tomato) to the Pepperoni Pig – piled high with slow-roasted pork belly, pepperoni, jalapenos and pickled peppers. There’s 16 beers on tap and a decent wine list showcasing local and international varietals.
Climb the stairs to level two and you’ll arrive at The Club Lounge – a private function space, perfect for groups of up to 250 people.
Ascend another set of stairs and you’ll find a swanky cocktail bar named Jessie’s, which offers the same food menu as the Public Bar. Friday nights here welcome a rotating roaster of DJs, as well as colourful drag shows. Standout drinks include the Blood Orange Margarita or the Blueberry Cosmo, which comes with vodka, blueberry liquor, almond cordial and lime juice – topped with fresh blueberries.
Go further north and you’ll arrive at the crown jewel, Slim’s, an enormous rooftop bar with panoramic views over Hyde Park and the city. Anchored by a modern Japanese menu of sushi, sashimi and sizzling plates, played out by chef Taichi Ito (ex-Sake Brisbane, Darlo Country Club), it’s an upstairs oasis – dressed in retro ruffled umbrellas in pastel pink and orange colours, and verdant succulents.