Parramatta Road is getting famous for a few of its boozy venues. Down the road from the award winning bottle shop, Camperdown Cellars, is the Empire Hotel. Refurbished fairly recently, it’s now positioned itself as a major craft beer player in this part of Sydney.
Craft Beer Club
To cement their credentials as a serious craft beer venue they’ve launched a craft beer club. It’s a monthly event on Saturday afternoons that welcomes conversation between brewers and punters. Included in the price are a couple of paddles of beer.
When I attended my first beer club event, it featured breweries from a bit further afield: Melbourne’s Two Birds Brewing and Six String from the Central Coast. It’s a very casual affair and there are no formal talks as such but the brewers wander around the bar room chatting to those drinking the paddles. They’re happy to answer questions and give a bit of background on the beers.
Talking to professional brewers is always a good experience. I always come away having learned something.
A beer club ticket also affords you some delicious snacks to which you can help yourself throughout the tasting. Lots of cheese, crackers and cold meats provide plenty of stomach-filling goodness which lets you swig away at a few more beers.
If that’s not your bag though, there’s obviously a solid food menu too. It contains most of what you’d suspect: schnitzels, pizzas and the like. The menu may change but if the salt and pepper squid and prawns is there, I’d recommend it.
Growing Demand for Craft Beer
Not long ago it would’ve been pretty ballsy to open up a craft beer pub on Parrammatta Road but the Empire is doing it very smartly. There are a couple of bars. One, with bar stools and sport on the TVs, serves predominantly Tooheys and Carlton, along with a smaller selection of craft.
The Lounge Bar, however, is much more extravagant in its decor and much more adventurous in its beer menu. This is where you’ll find the likes of Batch and Two Birds, alongside lots of other local craft brews.
It’s decorated with all sorts of mismatch antique furniture, ornate light fittings and sculpture. It looks more fitting for a regal high tea than a pub on a busy Sydney road.
The Empire Hotel are setting themselves apart though and that has to be admired. It certainly gets people snapping photos which can only be good thing for the venue.
The Empire Hotel is a good venue for both craft beer newbies and hardened beer geeks.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-12am, Sun: 12pm-10pm
Now Tapped!: https://nowtapped.com/empirehotel
If you’ve visited the Empire Hotel in Annandale let me know what you thought in the comments. If you’ve been to a craft beer club event, what did you taste?