Beer gardens must surely rank alongside draught beer, happy hour and the pairing of gin with tonic as one of humankind's greatest achievements. For when the sun is shining or the evening is sweaty, there's no better place to be than settled in at a beer garden with a group of your besties.
Lucky for us, here in Sydney we do beer gardens awfully well. Hell, we even have the (self-proclaimed) best beer garden in the world, Opera Bar. But ignore the tourist dens, because this city's got an endless supply of swell spots for a drink in the open air. Here is our list of Sydney's best beer gardens.
Unless you're a native of the Northern Beaches, the Newport Arms is a long way away. But search high and low for a designated-driver, because the trip's worth it. Located on a ridge overlooking the shimmering blue-green of Pittwater, the pub is a sprawling tribute to the love of a cold drink. The cavernous interiors house an array of bar and dining areas, but step outside and you'll soon realise you've reached one of the best beer gardens in Sydney. And you'll probably want to stay. Forever.
The Oaks Hotel
Once in the beer garden at The Oaks, you'll realise how the pub got its name. Although curiously, the majestic oak tree smack bang in the middle of the garden is all by its lonesome. Like the Newport Arms, the Oaks is a massive operation and offers endless ways to part with your cash. But again, barring only a blizzard, ignore inside and snare a seat in the garden. There are sparkling lights, comfy benches and a spectacular 70-year-old oak tree.
The Courty would have to be one of the best locals on the planet. Its beer garden is a big breezy space featuring large wooden picnic benches and shady umbrellas. The Courty also doubles as a refuge for Swans supporters, so if it's a Saturday in winter, beware. The drinks are simple (think cheap jugs of beer), as is the food (think schnitzels and burgers), but put the whole thing together and you've got the best pub in Newtown.
The Beresford Hotel
Given a spit and polish a while back, the Beresford is now super snazzy. Its splendid beer garden has groovy mismatched furniture, paper lanterns and maple trees. On any given day you'll stumble upon work groups having long lunches, groups clinking pints of Coopers and a sprinkling of solitary figures catching their breath in between engagements. Expect the masses on Friday and Saturday nights, but on school nights, snare a table and drink to your good fortune.
The Rose Hotel
Located on an otherwise unpleasant stretch of Cleveland Street, The Rose is an unlikely gem. The majority of its patrons are drawn from nearby universities, but you won't be out of place if you brave peak hour regularly. The pub's front bar has a stellar list of tapped beers such as Monteiths, Little Creatures and Tiger. Out the back, the beer garden has picnic tables, pool tables and plenty of room for everyone.
Golden Barley Hotel
Diverse doesn't even begin to explain the crowd you'll run into at the Golden Barley; this friendly local attracts them all. The pub has had a much-needed facelift and the beer garden is better than ever, with fairy lights and plenty of greenery. The pub's menus have also been updated, with dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken and curried salmon and wild rice salad, best washed down with a cold one or three.