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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Saturday 19 April 2014

The Local Taphouse Darlinghurst (NSW)

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Having honed their craft beer bar concept to perfection in St Kilda, The Local Taphouse team took the template to Sydney to begin the mission of converting the drinkers of Australia’s biggest city to good beer. They instilled what they’d learnt in Melbourne so successfully that in no time the Darlinghurst venue was winning awards for the best specialty beer bar in the land.

If you’ve been to one, you’ll feel instantly at home in the other, with the combination of 1930s European tavern – wood paneled walls, whicker lampshades, quirky beer memorabilia and cosy nooks – and exquisite attention to detail distinguishing them from other beer bars. Above all, it’s what’s behind the bar that counts the most, however, with the Darlinghurst venue boasting 20 taps on both its ground and first floors, most of which rotate frequently through the best beers Aussie craft brewers have to offer and the pick from elsewhere in the world. Expect to see 220 beers a year appear on the taps – often for the first, sometimes only, time in Australia. Food is available on all three levels, but the first floor restaurant has its own gastropub menu featuring exquisite dishes cooked and matched with beer.

Regular events include the monthly Ale Stars beer appreciation sessions that often invite leading beer industry figures to appear as special guests and Beerista 101 evenings, where newcomers are introduced to the basics of craft beer and how to appreciate it. Then there’s the massive seasonal SpecTAPular beerfests in which the taps are turned over to a theme, such as Aussie, US or Canadian beers, and staff and guests get into the fancy dress spirit, as well as BrewShare homebrew nights and occasional beer dinners.

If you can resist all the temptation contained within the first two floors, a trip to the top level is a must. Up there you’ll find an open air rooftop garden with its own bar (pouring the same tap list as downstairs) and plenty of tables. Every Tuesday, the rooftop hosts a silent cinema and they regularly roll out the Bocce balls. If you want a beer in the sun – or under the stars – there are few better places in the city in which to do it.