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, certainly in recent times, 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 like 4 Pines, Ekim, Young Henrys, Doctor's Orders, Rocks and Riverside. The next might take you north up the Central Coast; Six String, Murray's, Stone & Wood and all the way to Queensland's Bacchus Brewing. From there you might go anywhere, from Tasmania's Moo Brew in the south or way out west to WA's Feral Brewing.
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 outdoor courtyard on the ground floor is a pleasantly secluded sanctuary, the first floor Drunken Fish bistro has been polished into a fine dining experience while the top floor boasts an open rooftop, private bar (complete with its own four tap system for hosting beer events) and rooms replete with pool tables and leather sofas.
If you're after a bite to eat, The Quarryman's has options to suit your mood. Casual diners can take their pick from a bar menu where pub classics meet modern tastes - think pulled pork sliders, snapper pie and slow-cooked beef cheek nachos - while those after something a little fancy can dine at the Drunken Fish bistro which offers classy meals in a setting to match. Whichever option you choose, seafood is always a reliable choice here with the produce sourced fresh from the Sydney Fish Markets located just around the corner. For a timeless crowd-pleaser, it's hard to go past the Fish & Chips cooked in Grainfed Brewing's Sneaky One summer ale. Don't be surprised to see beer used elsewhere across the menu either, from Stone & Wood fried chicken to Dark Ale jus.
With good beer running through its veins, The Quarryman's has 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.