The Hold’s low ceilings, exposed timber and curved, pirate ship-like interior bring to life the adventure movies we watched as kids (think The Goonies). Naked light bulbs hang from ropes over the bar and nautical paraphernalia line the walls.
Once, it was a high-end cocktail venue. Nowadays the vibe is more low-key, to suit Manly. Locals come for easy-drinking tap beers, whisky tasting flights and the two extensive burger menus – one vegan, one decidedly not.
On the former you’ll find all sorts of ingenious substitutes, such as soy- and textured vegetable protein-based “meat”, bio-cheese and coconut “bacon”. On the latter, there are sizeable beef, chicken and char-sui pulled-pork burgers.
The Hold may have loosened up a bit, but cocktails are still taken seriously. The Banana Boat Club stirs together house-made banana rum, chocolate bitters and Amaro. The Gimlet Fizz is a refreshing mix of gin, lemongrass, lime and soda. If you’re in a group, though, you’re best off asking for a jug of the house punch. It includes two types of rum, dandelion-and-burdock bitters, tropical juices and a fruit garnish.