Slowly but surely, the good burghers of Sydney are waking up to the wonders of craft beer. And among those that's been on the front line of the battle for years is Harts Pub. The spiritual home of Rocks Brewing Company - which now has its own state-of-the-art brewing facility in the suburb of Alexandria - is an oasis where you can relax in the knowledge the bar's well stocked with beery goodness.
Two bars, each with 12 taps pouring predominantly Australian craft beer from the likes of Riverside Brewing, Doctor's Orders, HopDog BeerWorks and their interstate peers, serve punters over two floors - or three if you count the beer garden up top where you can relax in the shadow of the CBD's skyline. The core beers from Rocks Brewing - plus the odd seasonal - are a permanent fixture at Harts and are especially worth seeking out when being pulled through one of the pub's four hand pumps.
As for the pub itself, it's located where the historic Rocks precinct meets modern Sydney - housed inside a heritage-listed building that was previously home to a pub in dire need of reinvention. That's what it got when the Rocks team took over in 2010: although structurally it couldn't be touched, it was stripped down, repainted, refitted and given a British pub style makeover, complete with beery proverbs on the walls.
Since then, it's gone on to establish regular Brewers Feasts where punters get the chance to meet the brewers behind the beers, including those invited in from interstate. The kitchen specialises in serving wholesome, hearty pub grub that changes with the seasons and often uses beer as an ingredient. This beer-food combo is further embraced with regular multi-course degustations matching beer with food.
Put all these things together and what you get is a classic pub that pays homage to Sydney's history and old-world charm while keeping a firm eye on Australia's vibrant and thriving craft beer scene.