When the old Quarryman's Hotel closed for renovations midway through 2013, a sign went up declaring 'Craft beer is coming to Pyrmont'. Few would have suspected it would arrive in such a big way. Re-opening with 26 taps and pouring almost exclusively independent Australian craft beer, the new Quarryman's represented the largest single addition of craft beer to Sydney in several years.
In all honesty you could be forgiven for being surprised. The heritage listed venue has been open since 1880 and in all those years never showed an inkling of serving anything other than macro swill. But this old dog has certainly learned some new tricks.
The beer list - neatly repurposed from an old racing board - stretches from bar to ceiling and displays a lineup that, if one were to dedicate sufficient time, represents a fairly comprehensive beer journey through Australia's small brewers. One day you might work through Sydney brewers, from Akasha and Batch to Riverside and Young Henrys. The next day you might work your way north via the Central Coast's Six String brewery, through Newcastle's FogHorn, past Stone & Wood in Byron Bay. From there you could go anywhere; Moo Brew to Moon Dog, Capital to CoConspirators.
While beer may be a major part of what The Quarryman's offers - so much so that the main bar operates beneath a neon sign proclaiming 'In Hops We Trust' – it's far from the only appeal. From top to bottom, the whole of the old building has been transformed to ensure there's something for everyone; the food menu has been modernised into a classy all-encompassing pub offering, there are pinball machines and old arcade games, there's a busy schedule of events from comedy nights to trivia, the outdoor courtyard on the ground floor is a pleasantly secluded sanctuary, the first floor has been turned into a private function room with its own bar while the rooftop was fully refurbished in 2018 – and there are surely few finer places to enjoy a beer in Sydney than on a city rooftop. And if you're lucky – or have a lap that appears sufficiently snuggly – you might get a visit from Hopsy, the pub's resident feline who's become a minor celebrity.
With good beer running through its veins, The Quarryman's not only singlehandedly put Pyrmont on the beer map but it's given it a venue other suburbs can look to with envy. And more than that, being just a stone's throw from the busy tourist trappings of Darling Harbour, this is a venue putting local beer in front of international eyes and helping spread the word about Australian beer far and wide.