There are few, if any, places in Australia that can rival The Rocks when it comes to recreating the feel of the old country. And within The Rocks there is nowhere that captures the essence of the classic British pub better than the Lord Nelson. The grand old building dating from 1841 - the oldest licensed hotel in Sydney - would grace any street corner from Brighton to Edinburgh and, thanks to the construction of a brewery in the 1986, has a fine selection of English style ales on tap to complete the picture.
From day one, the brewery has produced all natural ales - unfiltered and unpasteurised - inspired by the comeback of real ales in the UK at the time of its opening. It's one of the most unique breweries you'll come across too. Constructed inside a heritage listed building where none of the existing structure can be altered, its various tanks are found across two floors and several rooms of the hotel's rabbit warren-like underbelly. The four original beers - the Nelson's Blood, Trafalgar, Victory and Old Admiral - are still brewed along with the popular Three Sheets and Quayle Ale plus five or six seasonals.
Aside from the beer, the hotel also offers nine rooms of boutique accommodation upstairs and has a well-regarded restaurant, the Lord Nelson Brasserie, on the first floor serving modern Australian cuisine complemented by an excellent wine list and interesting selection of beers. They run regular wine dinners and two beer dinners every year, usually featuring a mix of their own beers (often aged kegs) and beers from other breweries. Downstairs in the main bar downstairs, the menu is full of traditional pub classics.
Given its location, it attracts as many tourists as locals, but it doesn't take long at the bar to realise there's a big band of loyal regulars of all ages who call the Lord Nelson home. With craft beer finally starting to appear in a small handful of venues and brewpubs across Sydney, it seems the city is catching up to what these regulars have known for more than 25 years - that proper beer in a proper pub tastes that much better.