When Wayward and Batch Brewing Co joined forces as the Local Drinks Collective in 2022, one of the benefits they laid out was the potential for their indie, well, collective to amass an assortment of venues that could be allocated to the beer brand with the best fit. And if you want to see what that looks like in practice, the best place to start is at 300 Illawarra Road in Marrickville.
It’s here that the inner west’s brewing supergroup have established something of a one-two punch for beer lovers, with a bottleshop downstairs and the Wayward Speakeasy above.
You’ll find the latter up a flight of stairs you have to admit would do little to fool any law-abiding Prohibition enforcer, but once mounted delivers you to a venue that does plenty to convince you you’re anywhere but one storey above ground on Illawarra Road.
Somehow the transformed space that was once the Bucket Boys Bar manages to give off a subterranean feel: dark wood and leather furnishings, framed vintage travel posters and assorted knick-knacks work their magic under the moody glow of yellow lamplight.
Indeed, despite being a relatively open loft, the venue comes across as appropriately cosy: a perfect setting for the intimate tasting sessions for small groups forming part of the Speakeasy’s offering (stay updated on those here).
When it comes to the drinks menu, it’s a biggie. Naturally, Wayward and Batch favourites dominate the taps, which you can expect to find pouring hazies, IPAs, ales, stouts and a rotating selection of limited releases. There’s also a curated wine list, plus Wayward’s W seltzer range, and a cocktail menu made up of Wayward Speakeasy exclusives. Even if cocktails aren’t normally your thing, you could easily be tempted by custom creations starring Wayward beers, such as their spin on a lagerita based around the iconic Raspberry Berliner Weisse.
Ballast for this crowd-pleasing assortment of drinks comes in the form of a partnership with VN Street Foods. They’re located next door, which means your spring rolls and fried dumplings arrive hot and crispy. Customise your own bento, soak up the booze with bun cha or vermicelli salad, or please your whole table with a large order of rice paper rolls (pork, chicken or vego).
Should you wish to leave the Wayward Speakeasy with something delicious to be enjoyed later, that’s rather easy too, thanks to the range of beers available at the Local Drinks Collective. Choosing a mixed six-pack here will either be the best or hardest task of your day as you browse fridges crammed with limited releases from One Drop, Reckless, Loophole, Bracket, Green Beacon, Deeds, Dainton, Range and more, plus a fair few attractive offerings from overseas, including Brauerei Heller, Duvel, The Bruery and La Chouffe.
Finding a plethora of crafty options at 300 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, isn’t new, but the vibe and offering at the Wayward Speakeasy certainly is, even if it’s inspired by the illicit bars of a century ago. Better still, nothing is prohibited here – as long as it’s independent, of course.