A night at The Orient has always been a rite of passage for anyone living in or visiting Sydney; its seven-nights-a-week music policy lures people in at the start (and end) of an evening out in The Rocks. It’s a place people have been coming to for a good time since 1844.

In May 2018 it re-opened after three months of closure for renovations.

The refurbishment involved many changes, but all were in keeping with the building’s historic nature. In addition to receiving a new coat of paint the bar in the centre of the room was been reworked to look the way it would have in 1844, when the Orient first opened.

A striking timber beadboard ceiling covers the bar – another historically accurate touch – and a mural behind the bar depicts a map, adorned with gold leaf, charting one of The Orient Line’s chief passages to and from Australia. And thankfully, the bathrooms were also redone.

The menu too involves pub classics without straying too far from the originals. Highlights include braised-lamb croquettes drizzled in truffle honey; a laden tomato and mozzarella bruschetta; a tender kangaroo salad dressed with native spices; and a generous plate of Peking duck spring rolls. The menu also offers burgers, schnitzels, chips and other pub standards.

The ground-floor bar Mrs Jones and a tree-shaded bluestone-paved courtyard were also part of the reno. Mrs Jones overlooks the courtyard, and the terrace is where Jane Jones – the hotel’s publican in 1897, after whom the bar is named – lived.

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Updated: July 17th, 2018

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