Ever since Pasan Wijesena (Jacoby’s, Earl’s Juke Joint), Sam Pinneri, Dan Hunt and Russell Martin (The Cliff Dive) launched late-night bar The Trocadero Room back in November, we’ve been keenly waiting for its next-door companion – The Magpie – to open up too.

It has now, and like any self-respecting pub, it’s already picked up a motley crew of regulars.

“And that’s exactly what these types of venue are about,” says Wijesena. “There are always about five or six people who know each other that are chatting and bantering.”

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There’s only room for about 30-odd people (tops) at this sports bar that, while linking through a door to larger neighbour The Trocadero Room, has its own entrance and opening hours.

“The idea is that The Magpie will be trading during the day and then lean into when The Troc opens later at night,” Wijesena says. “To capture that daytime thing: people stopping by for a pint while they walk the dog. But we’ll also be open for sport with weird hours, like the NBA playoffs.”

For Wijesena and his crew, who’ve earned their stellar reputation by opening some of Sydney’s best cocktail bars and night-time spots, this focus on trading earlier in the day, in all of its unadorned, fully lit splendour, is a bit of a departure.

So in order to successfully add a publican feather to their caps, they’ve dipped straight into the classic pub vernacular – paying homage to the classic pubs of the inner west, as well as the UK, with an affectionate wink. There’s the name, which borrows from the British tradition of animal-based naming conventions: “We thought, how could we put an Australian twist on it? And the magpie came up pretty quickly in the conversation as a cheeky animal,” Wijesena says. Then there’s the decor: standard-issue navy pub carpeting, juxtaposed with even-more-standard-issue white walls and tiling. It’s all got a slightly ’80s sheen to it.

“There’s a nostalgic thing for that era – but obviously we weren’t old enough to go to pubs back then, so The Magpie is more of a fantasy of the ’80s and what we imagined that era of pub looked like.”

On the walls, wherever there isn’t a big TV screen, there are signed images of iconic sporting larrikins and heroes from across codes and disciplines: Buddy Franklin, Greg Inglis, Shane Warne, David Boon and Tommy Raudonikis – the State of Origin (and Western Suburbs Magpies) legend and spirit animal of the local pub scene.

“Most of us grew up in the west and we kind of have this nostalgic feel for growing up and watching footy and that was part of Australian suburban life,” says Wijesena. “[Raudonikis] was one of those larger-than-life characters – even if you didn’t watch footy, you kind of knew who he was or knew about him.”

The cocktail list is modelled after a typical pub’s range – the Bloody Mary and the Irish Coffee are two stars – while the six taps, other than the Guinness tap, are focused on local breweries. The Grifter crew has brewed a collaboration beer called Old Magpie, a sessionable, malt-driven dark ale based off Toohey’s Old. Wines by the glass are a bit more of a flex.

“You can find a bunch of local natural stuff, or you might find some burgundy, because of our connections with wine suppliers through the other venues,” Wijesena says. “We’re doing a chablis by the glass, for example, which you don’t normally see – we’re just keeping it interesting for ourselves and for the people who come in all the time.”

There’s no kitchen here, but you can order food from the chicken shop a few doors down via the bar staff. And pub trivia, meat raffles and all the hallmarks of a pub’s weekly calendar are on their way. As for sports? The Magpie’s broadcasting schedule is dictated by what’s going on, as well as what the people want to watch. The Tillies’ qualifier the other day drew a big crowd, as did the Superbowl, and the whole crew is gearing up for a big Olympics in a few months’ time.

The Magpie
156 Enmore Road, Enmore

Hours:
Tue-Fri: 4pm–midnight
Sat-Sun: midday–midnight

@magpieenmore