The Newtown Hotel has been dishing up booze to thirsty patrons for the past 130 years, most recently in the form of the ultra-fun Freaky Tiki pop-up bar. But all that ended last year when the old boozer shut up shop. But despair not, because the Newtown's back. And it's been tarted up from top to bottom, thanks to the Keystone Group – owners of Gazebo wine garden, The Winery and Manly Wine among a list of others venues around Sydney.
The public bar has been re-imagined and now a grand rectangular bar takes pride of place, surrounding by metal bar stools, plush chesterfields, pool tables, a stage for gigs, a kissing booth, pool tables and even some pinnies. Adjoining the main drinking area, the beer garden comes complete with its own bar and a retractable roof.
But the best bit about the new Newtown is at the top of the stairs. The first floor is now home to the pub's bistro: The Animal. Designed by Coco Republic interior design, the restaurant features the added bonus of allowing you to stake out a spot on the lovely sunny balcony – surely one of the most splendid perches along King Street. The Greek-themed menu offers starters like braised octopus, dolmades and grilled haloumi, or for heartier eats, lamb rubbed with lemon, garlic and bay leaf or a classic spinach, ricotta and fetta pie.
At the bar, there are standards on tap like Coopers, Peroni and Asahi. The bottled brews get a bit more fancy: there's Mythos and Vergina from Greece and Hitachino Nest and Yoho from Japan. The wine list features mainly Australian drops, with a few Greek wines thrown in just to keep the theme going. They also do wines on tap, which are surprisingly drinkable. For cocktails, try a Mr Charisma with vodka, cumquat marmalade, pomegranate, lemon and mint or a Chet Baker with rum, sweet vermouth, honey and bitters.
You're never faced with a shortage of places to drink along King Street, but the list just got a little longer.
The Newtown Hotel
174 King Street, Newtown
(02) 9557 6399
Mon to Sat 10am–midnight