REVIEW: We paid a visit to Erskinville’s Swanson Hotel over the weekend for lunch, and were pleasantly surprised.
The former Kurrajong Hotel, bought by the Balmain Pub Group, was transformed into a semi-upmarket watering hole, with a British West Indies theme, focused on good food and good beer, in 2014.
The Balmain Pub Group by the way is that mob known for the transformation of the Riverview Hotel Birchgrove and the Balmain Hotel.
On our Saturday afternoon visit we found the pub fairly quiet, with a few parents chasing after children, a group of tradies wetting their throats and watching the footy on one of the lage screens, and well-to-do inner-west 20 somethings enjoying a few drinks, chatting and having a bite to eat.
The pub has become noted for its good food, with an award winning chef at the helm, and our simple fare didn’t disappoint. We ordered the cheese burgers over the bar from a smiling barmaid, who after a short wait delivered our food to our table. We sat at those bench style tables with stools, but there were more comfortable dining tables with back supported seating available. There is also seating outside on the footpath – but more on that later.
The burgers were of the Angus variety, with soft buns, and priced at $16 with a side of chips. The prices are not unexpected at this type of pub. The burgers went down well – and so did my Tooheys Draught (No Reschs on tap, unfortunately).
The Swanson has its place as an inner Sydney suburban hotel. But to be honest, it’s not exactly my type of pub. It’s a little over-done to my liking.
As regulars to Time Gents would know, I like my pubs old, and a little worn – but polished – you know the type; well-used, traditional, and kept bright and clean.
The main bar is bright, airy, and feels fresh, but lacks tradition. Although the bar is chunky, and styled on yesteryear, the feel was a little too modern for this ‘tradionalist’. Anyway, that’s just me, and shouldn’t put pub lovers off visiting this grand old lady from the past.
This pub is popular with the Erskineville crowd, and I could have easily settled into a few ‘quieties’. Despite my weariness of the bar, if I had a little more time, I could quite comfortably of killed an hour or two on one of the outside tables. That was my favourite part of the pub.
The outside timber bench seats and tables on the wide footpaths are a great attraction. The tables sat up against traditional style 1940s pub tiles, and a few replica heritage brewery posters, with views across to Harry Noble Park, with its huge old trees. Nice.
At the tables were seated people from all walks of life, enjoying their tucker, and refreshments. The atmosphere was good. The feeling relaxed.
I enjoyed our weekend pub lunch at the Swanson. I’ll be back when I have a little more time to try out those few “quieties’ on the outside bench tables.
The Swanson gets a three schooner glass rating out of five from Time Gents…