Roadtest: Where to go gardening

It’s a great Aussie past time to hang out at your local watering hole with a beer on a sunny day, and there are plenty of great beer gardens in the Inner West to suit all tastes. Here is our pick of the best…

The Courthouse

One of Newtown’s most popular pubs, this place is famous for it’s huge outdoor area, which is usually brimming with hipster locals enjoying a pub feed alongside a beer or a cider. It’s often so busy, you have to hold on to your seat (if you’re lucky enough to have scored one in the first place) or get in early to secure one of the prized wooden picnic tables. I’d say it’s one of the best beer gardens in the Inner West – sunny, friendly and lots of fun if you like bustling, noisy places filled with plenty of interesting people.

The Balmain Hotel

The new Balmain Hotel boasts the biggest beer garden in Balmain. Set over two levels, you can enjoy a cocktail in the sun at the funky Tiki Bar area and feel like you’re right at home. It’s a relaxed, casual environment with plenty of greenery and colourful umbrellas overhead. What also sets it apart is the fact that it is very family-friendly. The venue managers make great use of the space, holding special events like the recent Snowed Inn party that marked the end of winter with a truckload of real snow covering the courtyard – needless to say, the kids enjoyed the snow ball fights that ensued.

The Royal Hotel

The Royal Botanical Terrace looks a little like someone’s greenhouse with pot plants lining the wall. The new owners have certainly turned the space into a beautiful spot to spend a warm afternoon looking up into a clear blue summer sky – if only it was a little bigger, as the terrace will surely get quite tight during peak hours, but the natural feel is very inviting nonetheless.

Woolwich Pier Hotel

The Hotel has just finished renovations so their courtyard is pristine and has all the modern conveniences you could want. There are three main areas to this beer garden; a completely outdoor café style area, a series of pavilions that are protected from wind and rain, and a small smoker’s corner – the rest of the area being strictly non-smoking. This courtyard really evokes a feeling of being in your own (very well-manicured) backyard; it’s comfortable and a gorgeous place for a beer and a steak.

The Toxteth Hotel

This Glebe pub has a great covered courtyard with more of an urban, industrial feel than many other local beer gardens – it isn’t afraid to be a little more rough around the edges, with unpolished decked floors and a central bar that looks like it’s made out of recycled timber. The bar’s positioning is really what makes this beer garden stand out, though perhaps that’s just because I’m lazy and having a central bar means it’s a short walk from any seat in the house. It’s a cool place to hang out in rain or shine because of the clear roofing too.

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