For as long as this correspondent has been drinking in Manly, I’ve always given The New Brighton Hotel (aka the NBH) a wide berth. Even in the 80s, when the original Hotel Manly was around – it was anywhere but the NBH. I don’t know if it was any rougher than anywhere else in Manly or why I picked up a vibe back then not to go there – but it’s always been one of the last places I’d go for a beer. I think that’ll change now.
The owners of the NBH have recently dropped a small fortune on a renovation that deserves to be seen. There are now “4 Designer Levels”, including a public bar with plenty of windows that open onto to the Corso, the Shark Bar “the entertainment destination of the Northern Beaches” and the highlight – the Rooftop Bar. I’ve been to the Rooftop Bar twice now, and it really is a sensational addition to Manly’s drinking options. I can’t recall having ever seen a gas firepit like the one gracing the Rooftop in a pub in Sydney (or anywhere for that matter). I also can’t recall seeing blankets being made available to patrons to entice them out onto the rooftop in winter. I definitely can’t recall seeing Tagine shaped couches (also with blankets) on a rooftop before.
The view is also spectacular and easily the highest view from a pub in Manly – well and truly higher that the view from the Moonshine Bar, which is on top of the neighbouring Steyne hotel. You can see all the way over to Cabbage Tree Point or Fairy Bower and there are plenty of glass screens to keep as much of the wind out as possible. This isn’t the best rooftop bar I’ve been to in Sydney (the Glenmore Hotel has that distinction – and I’m looking forward to the results of that reno), but it is a killer view and the furniture is pretty awesome (including the couches that really look like double beds).
One certainly doesn’t go to the NBH for a novel beer experience. In fact, the tap rack has an equal number of ciders to beer – and I’m reliably informed the Blackcurrant Bulmers is one to avoid. There is at least a variety of 4 Pines on tap in the public bar, and Coopers Pale Ale is prevalent on all floors. So whilst there is a photo of Hahn Premium Light above, that won’t be reviewed and we’ll turn our attention to the attractively packaged Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale, which was lurking in my fridge . Website hyperbole describes the great trouble that Sierra Nevada goes to to produce this beer. Hops are flown in from New Zealand (Pacific Hallertau, New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross hops) to be used when they are at their freshest. I’m not sure how many years that this has been made, but this is the 2012 version. It pours a rich amber colour and looks great next to a beautifully decorated bottle. Maybe because Sierra Nevada always produces very sharp beers when it’s highlighting hop presence, I was expecting something a little bigger. This is a well balanced beer – nice malt flavours, with a mild bitterness and the 6.7% alcohol is not that evident. It’s very easily quaffable, but it is just a little underwhelming (possibly unfairly).
Whilst there’s been a number of one-off journeys on the back of the ferry, all of January went by before all of the foundation BotF members were able to make a trip home together in 2012. Like much of January, the journey was damp. Brollies are now an almost mandatory item out the back. February is predicted to be worse with 22 of 29 days predicted to be wet, and that’s an optimistic meteorologist’s view. Luckily the harbour throws up interesting stuff regardless and on this particular journey a seal bobbed up a couple of times playing with a fish. This correspondent can’t recall seeing a seal before. It’s also good to see that the recent Costa Concordia incident has revived the art of a good fire drill on a cruise ship.
Manly’s continuing to add venues to its already burgeoning list. The latest addition is Harlem on Central. Even without a few bevvies under the belt, this is a hard place to find. Mainly because the entrance is not Central Avenue, but rather on Sydney Road. Once in, it is then hard to read the menu. I ended up pulling out my iPhone and using the torch feature. The menu reveals a great range of cocktails – which is the main game – but the small list of beers are solid – led by Sierra Nevade Pale Ale. A good place for date night, though we ended up eating at the local Japanese because although the food was delicious it was in morsel size.
One of my favourite new brewers is HopDog BeerWorks . This self-proclaimed “microbrewery” has started to pump out an eclectic range of humourously named and extremely flavoursome beers. I tried a Black Sunshine last year at Harts Pub and was an instant convert. It made such an impression that it made my top 5 in the Hottest 100 beer vote. I was delighted to find it at Beer Cartel – a great little bottleshop in Artarmon. This Oatmeal Stout is packed with flavour. It has the roasted texture that I love in stouts and there was plenty of long lingering mocha happening as well. I don’t often get to South Nowra, but HopDog provides a damned good reason. They have a brewery door thing on the weekends, and you can get growlers filled up as well.
One of the many appealing aspects of 4 Pines Brewery in Manly is their celebration of countries’ national days. 1 July is Canada Day or as some old-timers call it Dominion Day. To help get warm and fuzzy about all things red and white, 4 Pines has developed a Canadian Red Ale. I had this last year as well, and I’m glad to advise that Andrew the Brewer has kept the recipe consistent. It was a great beer last year and it is a great beer this year. There’s only one keg of it, so if you want a lash – get out there.
Back of the Ferry was able to get sneaky early taste of the beer 4 Pines will be using to commemorate US Indepence Day. Andrew has developed a Rye IPA, and it is an absolute corker. I only got to try a very small amount, but it is a seriously big beer, high in alcohol, deep in flavour and has a wonderful aftertaste that goes on forever. If you are in Manly on Monday, then you’ve got to give it a go. BotF will be there for a pint for sure. It was good to have a chat to the brewer, and the staff were most hospitable to my lunch-time drinking companion.
Over a number of years, this correspondent has occasionally taken overseas business visitors on a night out in Manly. In the old days, the trip would consist of a trip on the Back of the Ferry – and a long-neck in a brown paper bag would be thrust in our guest/’s’ hand. Once at Manly, we’d commandeer a cab and do the run up to North Head, dodge bandicoots before going to the lookout, which gives one of the great panoramas of Sydney and the Harbour (even better at sun set). Depending on the personality of the client, we’d then head to either the Harbord Hilton for a very large seafood platter and schooners or Garfish for grilled fish and chardonnay. Every now and then, particularly if the client was a real pisshead – we’d end up at the Steyne and introduce them to punting in a pub.
One night sticks in the memory, when a couple of us entertained a hefty bloke that hadn’t been outside Iowa – bar a honeymoon to Hawaii. He looked like he was enjoying himself and we were ripping schooners into him at a frantic pace. He started to struggle with the seafood platter – restricting himself only to the battered stuff – but smiled bravely. We then got in a punting frenzy – schooners still flying everywhere – when he suddenly sat bolt upright and said “I need to go home”. We piled him into a cab, wondered for a second if he was ok, and returned to our punting frenzy. He turned up to the office the next morning – almost on time – but was as green as a shamrock and said very little.
I met him six months later in Iowa, and he confessed that he got back to the hotel and chundered his guts out. He hadn’t had a session like it for a decade and that it would be another 10 years before he did it again. He was very pleasant about it, but I entertained myself that evening in Des Moines.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with the “Hilton” or “Garfish”, the itinerary I prefer now is a visit to Murray’s at Manly followed by a visit to the 4 Pines. Now, once Murray’s at Manly’s (@murraysbrewing)restaurant is up and running, we’ll alternate between dinner at each venue – but at the moment – once alighting the ferry (and possibly after a trip to the Heads) it is off the Murray’s for a few magnificent bevvies and then on the 4 Pines (@4PinesBeer)for a few more magnificent bevvies and din-dins.
Cam & Rory, our inductees had proven their mettle in Melbourne, and were prepared for anything we could throw at them. There would be no repeat of the Iowan incident. First stop was Murray’s at Manly, which has half the venue under renovation. No matter, the beer taps still work and the boys were blown away by what flowed from them. I was delighted to see a new brew available – and tried a Vesuvius Premium Lager. Prior to the arrival of Murray’s at Manly, we would have missed out on these releases – but no more. This is an awesome beer. “Premium Lager” makes me think board-room, Crown or James Boags – but this is far different. It’s big on the hops, and it is simply bigger than a traditional Australian lager. 7.1%, great aromas, lip-smacking taste. Thanks, Murray, for coming to Manly.
Next stop – dinner – and we headed to the 4 Pines. Now, I’m a member of the 4 Pines Club and probably received an E-Mail notifying me, but I’d totally forgotten that it was the 4 Pines’ 3rd birthday. Lucky us – that made me eligible to win double my weight in beer – but I lucked out. That was the only disappointment. The Melbourne lads are good on the tooth and ordered one of everything, which were rapidly demolished. The lads loved the Kolsch and Rory gave his celtic seal of approval to the Stout, which had been launched only 3 nights before. Happy birthday to 4 Pines, Andrew and all the crew.
I should point out that there is nothing wrong with either the Harbord Hilton (@harbordhilton) or Garfish (@garfishseafood) – and there’ll be visits there in the future – with or without overseas guests. But gees it’s good to have two beer restaurants in Manly.
The street along the waterfront at Manly is known as the Steyne. Addresses to the south of the Corso are ## South Steyne and addresses to the North of the Corso are ## North Steyne. I’ve had a look on the ‘net and struggled to find the original meaning of the word Steyne. After much searching it I think it means stone, with one theory being that it is one big stone with two protrubing ends – North Steyne and South Steyne. I reckon that if your address ends in Steyne you have an address that is unique in the world (other than your neighbours).
Therefore BotF reckons that it would be really unique (yeah, I know, you are unique or not) to go to two bar openings in the same week where the bars are 48 and 49 North Steyne, respectively. We enjoyed a Monday night first bevvy at Murray’s at Manly – that’s 49 North Steyne. Tonight, Hemingway’s Manly -that’s 48 North Steyne – opened. BotF was there, but we were unfortunately beaten to the punch as first customers by a trendy couple.
So bladdamasta, pommy_ch and lambo ended up being officially the 3rd, 4th and 5th customers at Hemingway’s Manly. Hemingway’s has taken over the site of Brazuca, which was a Brazilian all-you-can-eat-meat-on-skewer joint. BotF was quite partial to Brazuca as we had our first Chilean beer here. Hemingway’s opening night tap beer offering was not unfamiliar to BotF, but White Rabbit Dark and Little Creatures Pale will not disappoint any discerning beer bloke.
Manly is diversifying in bar types. The Steyne, the Brighton (under reno), the (Ivan) ‘hoe and the Manly Wharf are the beer barns. The Sugar Lounge and the Shore Club attract a doof, doof crowd. 4 Pines and Murray’s add significant amounts of class and beer heaven. To adopt a term that BotF’s fellow blogger – Tipples - uses, we are now seeing an influx of hipster bars. Safety Wolf started the trend, but like James Dean, promptly closed after achieving fame, but with a brief but coruscant time. Miss Marley and the Pony Room have emerged and now Hemingway’s at Manly has hit the scene. 3 blokes, including a flatmate of a Pony Room associate, have “taken on some debt” to have a crack. The owners have adopted a Fleet Foxes look with beards aplenty. The furnishings and fit out is classy and bookish – and the johns are interesting. They do food, but we were in and out pretty quickly and we’ll need to be back for a detailed look.
Some Newtown in Manly.
It is very rare to be at the opening of an icon. Imagine being at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Sydney Opera House, the first passenger on the Manly Ferry, the first customer at Rockpool or the first person to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Tonight BotF was there at the debut of something equally significant – the first night of Murray’s at Manly on North Steyne in Manly.
illiards and bladdamasta were very pleased to meet with Murray himself and the Head Brewer, Shawn Sherlock. We were able to do a reasonable run at the taps. Between us, we had a crack at Spartacus, Icon 2IPA, Retro Rocket, Grand Cru and Dark Knight. This is scratching the surface of what will be available. These blokes are passionate about what they are bringing to Manly, and BotF looks forward to many nights of patronage. The opening night was low key, so we were able to have a decent chat to the Head Brewer who just loves what he does and we love to drink what he does. He’s justifiably proud of the Retro Rocket (and everything else).
This is a venue that has had many starters but no finishers. I reckon Murray has got the ticker in him to see this out. We’ll be back. We’d love to be stuck in that cool room. Good luck to Murrays at Manly and all that sail in it. @MurraysBrewing.
Absent wives presented a rare opportunity to enjoy a Monday night BotF and a post voyage libation on Manly Wharf. So far, the post daylight savings voyages have all been very picturesque with Sydney Harbour not failing to turn a sunset light show. Our camera just aren’t up to capturing how beautiful Sydney Harbour is during sunset – but trust us – it is magic.
Normally we’d stop off at the 4 Pines for a bevvy, but inspired by the deeds of the Part-Time monk we decided to give the Bavarian Bier Cafe a visit and see if they had a doppelbock. Now given the presence of 4 Paulaner beers in the fridge and the fact that the Part-time monk was inspired by the Paulaner Monks, there was a fair chance we were going to find a doppelbock.
We weren’t disappointed. One of the 4 varieties of Paulaner offered was Salvator. It turns out that this beer can trace its origins back to the original doppelbock that the Part-Time Monk is basing his whole journey upon. The Paulaner website is one of the best in terms of giving a history lesson about their beers as opposed to crap about rave parties or branding changes. There is a 21 chapter story about Salvator, but it confirms the fact that to avoid losing weight during Lent, the Monks developed “Liquid Bread”. It was apparently a Stout, but what we drank was more like a meaty ale. At 7.9% and a solid consistency – a couple of these a day would keep one happy. I didn’t need a feed when I got home.
As mentioned the Part-Time Monk is in the home straight. Last night, his regular site did an interview Part-Time Monk’s wife. There’s some stuff in here you couldn’t make up. Mrs Part-Time Monk runs a yoga studio and she has a session called “Pints and Poses”. Do some yoga then drink beer. Sounds counter intuitive but there you go. Naturally she’s concerned about hubby’s first feed after 46 days. She’s more concerned about his nominated choice – a bacon Smoothie. Goodonya Part-Time Monk.
BotF managed to breast the yuletide season finishing line tape – just – with a couple of new beers under a Christmas tree.
First up was the 3rd of the 4 bottled beers available from one of BotF’s favourite brewers and bars – 4 Pines at Manly. This BotF correspondent has professed his love of dark brews many times, and this offering from 4 Pines only stokes those amourous flames. Dry, roasted, great long lasting bitterness – this is a great Australian stout. On the label is an interesting little designation “Vostok – Certified Space Beer”. Rather than do an Alan Ramsey an re-type a whole article, read the hotlinked story from the SMH or this one from the Manly Daily about what this all means. Beer hyperbole gone mad – or fair dinkum – your call.
Second beer under the Christmas tree for the evening was a British beauty. Adnams Southwold is a brewer from the East Coast of England. Founded in 1872, it is really starting to expand in the UK as well as enter the export market. They’ve recently expanded into the wine, spirits and hotel market.
If the rest of their product is good as this 500ml bottle of Broadside, then there could be worse places to live than Southwold. This is a wonderfully rich, complex ruby beer. They use it to make Christmas pud, and you wouldn’t want too many pieces as you’ll be falling into your brandy sauce. At 6.3% alcohol it is significantly stronger than the on tap version. Maybe it was the release of finishing up for the year, or the alcohol content – but after draining this awesome beer, sleep was the only option. There’s plenty of variety in the Adnams stable and BotF looks forward to trying them.
The beer commemorates a famous sea battle that was held in 1672 off the coast of Southwold. The Battle of Solebay was between the Dutch and the Poms/French. Apparently an exciting draw, with two further fixtures played – the next one being nearer Holland.
Merry Christmas to all.
The order of these posts has gotten a little out of chronological order, but last weekend BotF got to experience a new bar and a new beer. The only problem is that the iPhone is not the greatest night time camera. I did pop down to the bar to at least get a day time photo to help you recognise it.
The Pony Room occupies the site of an old Indian Restaurant – the Chili Chimney on Pittwater Road. This is on the same side of the road as Safety Wolf, but on the Northern Side of the Raglan Street intersection. The new premises offer a much larger space that the old Safety Wolf, which was operated by the same blokes that run this joint. That makes for more room for the owners to place the eclectic furniture that they seem drawn too. There is a old wagon wheel hung from the ceiling, copperart on the walls etc. The beer list is really simple, with 4 types of Monteiths and two others and there is a short range of cocktails. THe food is also straight to the point. $18 pizzas with simple toppings (Chorizo and Mushroom for example). The $4 fish tacos on Wednesday are still available, and the owner told me that he is now pumping out twice as much as he did at Safety Wolf. Tony from Toowoomba, who accompanied me with our respective DSEs – was most impressed. Safety Wolf has a worth successor.
TfT and BotF were equally impressed with our choice of beer with dinner. Garfish offered a Vale Ale as one of the choices, and what a beer. The cloudy pour augured well, but we weren’t prepared for the assault on the taste buds. This is such a sharp flavourful beer with a great enduring bitter after taste. This is a ripper of a beer.
It was Bastille Day yesterday, but unfortunately BotF was unable to get his hands on some Kronenberg, a beer from Strasbourg, to commemorate the French National Day. BotF was, however, able to break the seal on a magnificent winter drop from a brewer that has graced these pages before – Kross Cerveceria Independiente. Kross Stout was sampled in the very trendy surrounds of Miss Marley’s a new bar that has opened in Manly.
First, the beer. Kross Stout is a cracker. A dry, crisp but full flavoured stout – this is perfect for winter. Kross make 5 varieties, and the boys from Santiago would have to a bloody good job with the other 4 to top this one. This is the second location within Manly that I’ve had a Kross beer – and its popularity deserves to spread.
Miss Marley’s has taken over the space previously occupied by Safety Wolf, a former winner of the currently dormant BotF Bar of the Month awards. This is a smart, compact bar. For mine it is a little too neat. There was a crumpled unkempt charm about Safety Wolf that was particularly appealing. Miss Marley’s does not have anything out of place – but I’m sure it will become a fixture. 2 Kross’s were of the order of $18 which is pretty steep – thank goodness the beer was good. It is marketed as a Tequila Bar and there is a fine range of unique Tequila based cocktails. Very trendy furniture and well decorated walls make it a visual feast. Definitely one at which to commence date night and maybe even stay for the evening, as there is a menu of Mexican and Caribbean treats.