Sunday, 3 April 2016

#99 - Cultural Tour (Sydney Pub Tours)

Number 99 was the intellectual sounding 'cultural tour'.  Thankfully, both TripAdvisor and Sydneysiders consider pubs as part of their culture.  Therefore, our cultural tour was a pub crawl around the historical 'Rocks' area of Sydney.  We went with a company called Sydney Pub Tours.  This was quite a late entry into the top 100, so by the time we did it, we had actually already been to almost every pub in Sydney.

Nonetheless, we thought it would be good to get some of the stories behind the pubs.  We turned up at the meeting point at the Australian Hotel, and were met by the tour leader, Gaz.  We were slightly surprised when he went on to tell us that we were the only people on the tour that night.  Apparently they get some really busy nights with 20+ people, then some not so busy nights...

One of Sydney's many 'oldest pubs'

We were a bit worried that it would be an awkward night ahead, but, being a pub crawl, we needn't have worried.  Alcohol is the perfect antidote to awkwardness.  Gaz was a great host, and had plenty of good stories about the various pubs we visited.  He also introduced us to the 'Beer Passport' in the Australian Hotel.  That's probably a story for another blog, but it did lead to our name now being displayed on a plaque beside the bar.

It turned out that we had been to 3 of the 5 pubs before, but there were plenty of stories about each of them that we had never heard before.  There were also a couple of additional perks, such as getting to visit the basement of the Hero of Waterloo, where drunk sailors used to be robbed and carried back to the docks through underground tunnels.

For anyone interested, the 5 pubs were:  The Australian Hotel, The Fortune of War, The Hero of Waterloo, The Lord Nelson and the Mercantile Hotel.  Like almost every pub in Sydney, most of these claim to be the oldest pub in Sydney.  Due to various technicalities, at least three of them actually seem to have a genuine claim.  You'll need to go on the tour if you want the full story.  Well, or do some research of your own...

They locked the doors when they heard we were coming...

Overall it was a good tour.  The value for money wasn't that great, as you could go around and have a pint in each of the pubs independently for much less, but then you would miss out on the stories. Dinner was also included, which was pizza from the Australian Hotel.  Also, if you're not familiar with the area, then you probably wouldn't happen to find all of these pubs.  Definitely worth considering for a quick and entertaining way to see some of the historic pubs in Sydney.

Have you done another tour?  Got a view on whether there is a better way to see the pubs of Sydney? Are you Gaz?  Leave a comment below...

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