When the Native Rose Hotel first opened its doors in 1878, the suburb of Rozelle didn’t even exist. It would be another 14 years before the new Balmain West Post Office would be renamed Rozelle (named for the Rosella parrots that were found in abundance in the area), and another couple of decades before the locals would formally adopt the name for the suburb. While there’s now no shortage of traditional Australian suburban pubs in Rozelle and surrounds, the Native Rose stands out as one that’s gone from a derelict and seedy boozer, to a modern and family-friendly craft beer haven seemingly overnight.
Since taking ownership in November 2017, the new team – headed by the owners of another Sydney indie beer icon Harts Pub – has worked hard to reinvigorate the pub as a venue for everyone, with a strong focus on independent beer. In fact you’ll find fourteen taps of the good stuff pouring, with local breweries like Young Henrys and local-ish ones like Australian Brewery and Shark island sitting besides apparently any brewery across the country that starts with an H – think Hawkers, Hope and Holgate.
While initially somewhat sceptical of the strange looking decals, actual aromas and more pronounced bitterness of the new-fangled beers on tap, more and more of the locals have embraced a world of beer previously only reserved for those ridiculous looking hipsters Kochie is always banging on about. In a lovely encapsulation of what the Native Rose is trying to do in Rozelle, one regular went from outrage at the lack of Tooheys on tap to exclusively drinking pints of IPA within a few weeks.
Adding to its credibility of being a genuine craft beer venue, the Native Rose has installed a small bottleshop just inside the front bar with a large and varied range of beer to drink there or take home. There’s not only plenty of local tinnies from the likes of Frenchies, La Sirène and Dainton, but also absolute, rolled-gold worldwide beer superstars like Dupont and Gueuze Tilquin.
The Native Rose features a bright and open dining area and beer garden distinct from the front bar. This whole space provides plenty of room for families and larger groups and comes with a decked-out kids play area with toys and, in all likelihood, Frozen playing on repeat just in case mums and dads are desperate to hear Let It Go for the eighteen millionth time.
The menu features exactly the kind of food literally everyone wants to see at a pub. Wings and calamari, parmis and beer battered fish, steak and ribs and, of course, more burgers than you can poke a stick at. What does set the Native Rose menu apart from the rest, however, is the presence of the oft-maligned salad bar, with freshly prepared salads, roasted veg and noodles. No customary self-loathing after eating seven plates of appalling pasta and the mandatory soft-serve induced purge behind Mum’s car in the Sizzler carpark here.
The Native Rose also does a number of mid-week specials like half price ribs, all you can eat wings and happy hour drink specials so you’ll be able to get a ripper feed and a few drinks in without having to part with too much of your hard-earned. Despite being the best part of 140 years old, the Native Rose Hotel has never looked better, having matured into an independent, family run business dedicated to welcoming all comers into the loving embrace that only good food and drink can provide.