Guide to Sydney’s Newest Pub Makeovers


East London at The London Hotel

A huge illuminated ‘L’ graces the brick wall as you climb the stairs. What used to be Chur Burger has been transformed. The room is a beauty; long low communal tables are graced with oversized pendant lighting. Instead of paintings, imported woven Asian baskets of all sizes give you a taster of what’s to come from head Chef Jack Steer (ex Chin Chin, China Diner).

This is Sichuan food at its finest. Pot stickers arrive upside down with a crispy pancake weave. Generous slices of kingfish sashimi is paired with a salad of quinoa and crispy wonton slivers only to be rivalled by silky bug  wontons in a delicate chilli sauce. Bang Bang chicken is a killer combo of ginger and sesame, follow it up with a Kung Pao Brussels sprouts and five spice crispy duck. A wickedly extensive wine list has a great selection from a Swinging Bridge Chardonnay to a Freemans Hilltop Shiraz.  As you descend the stairs, the ‘L’ for London might now have a new meaning… you’ll be back, this one is ‘L’ for love.


The Edinburgh Castle

Once home to a famed poet and writer there is a new reason why this place is in the history books. Head to the upstairs lounge and an ugly duckling has been turned into a royal peacock. Teal green walls, huge arched stained glass windows, native flowers, calligraphy screens and an art deco bar is mirror to mirror glam with metallic freezes.

Chef Daniel Lanza (ex North Bondi Fish), blends colonial Australia with contemporary elements with creative dishes such as prawns with finger limes, golden bubbling cottage pie full with chicken and sweet leeks plus a signature dish of torn waffles topped with savoury lamb mince. Add some seasoned chicken salt potato scallops, house made damper roll with ‘The Vincent’  Barossa Valley Grenache and this one will continue to stand the test of time.

_Y4A0479Town Hall Hotel

A contemporary makeover has created a nostalgic ‘upstairs downstairs’ environment with a historic island bar on the ground floor and a balcony tree house area designed by Will Dangar on the top floor. An illuminated ‘This is the place to be’ sign welcomes a notably more feminine crowd. It’s a gardener’s delight with soft green painted walls showcasing pretty wooden hanging boxes of succulents, ferns and shrubs.

A large 2 wheeled cart is bursting with greenery and everywhere oversize planters provide intimate breaks in space for groups chilling on cane furniture or cozying up to the roaring fire at the end. It’s stylish approach extends to dining; curls of seasoned calamari, a trio of arancini balls and crispy fish tacos are followed by mains of house crumbed chicken schnitzel with slaw, herbed lamb cutlets with smoked mash and an heirloom tomato salad with zucchini flowers. Simply add a glass of Sangiovaise and a white rabbit.

New refurbishment of cocktail bar and new city views roof top garden bar

Brigade Dining , The Lounge and the Rooftop at The Light Brigade

It’s a paddo favourite with good reason;  this is one pub which keeps on knocking out the changes, only this time its rolling out them in three’s. Firstly Brigade Dining is getting into the ‘share thing’ with a new menu which delivers plates, quite frankly we would rather keep to ourselves. Social dishes of warm mini bagels toasted with malt and rosemary are perfect smeared with anchovy butter, followed by a flatbreads topped with prosciutto and rocket zigzagged with a truffle dressing.

A dark smooth mouse of eggplant, crispy blistered grapes and Succulent soft octopus arrives with just the right amount of char. It’s a bold move, but this the best octopus dish in Sydney. Mains of chicken with a side of barely risotto or hunks of grass fed New York strip stake still have you wishing you could have that octopus dish all over again. A glass of 2014 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz is the perfect match.

The second new look is The Brigade Lounge bar. Climb up the swirling staircase into a contemporary new space; dark green walls with arches leading to pods of leather chairs and banquets just perfect for good conversation. The third space is a stunner – we had a sneak peak of what’s to come… a beautiful rooftop bar, fireside heaters, terracotta benches and killer views. It’s not yet open, so keep an eye on the website as its coming to you soon.


About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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