GENTRIFICATION is around the corner for arguably Sydney’s last working class inner-suburb, Redfern. But, for those who appreciate the remnants of working class Sydney, there’s still a few traditional pubs worth a visit.
One of my favourite Redfern pubs is the good ol’ Eveleigh.
The Eveleigh Hotel did not always trade from its current location at the corner of Abercrombie and Vine Streets. The original was established by Laurence Walsh, down the hill a block, at the south-west corner of Vine and Edward Streets in July 1876.
Walsh built the current Eveleigh Hotel during 1879, and transferred the license up the hill in November of that year. He hosted his new pub until 1882, before it was sold.
At that time it was described as having a bar on the ground floor, three sitting rooms, dining-room and kitchen. On first floor were six bedrooms, and there were stables at rear. The brick and stone building has a slated roof, and was let at £3 5s per week. The annual rental was £169. The land had 21 feet 2 inches frontage to Abercrombie Street and a depth to Vine Street of 66 feet 7 inches.
Tooth and Company brewery purchased the freehold of the Eveleigh from Margaret Kennedy in 1938.
Tooth and Company sold the property to Fetote Pty Limited in October 1981 and the license was later sold and the pub closed.
The pub re-opened as the Berkeley Hotel about 10 years ago when Mathew Sweeney purchased and re-licensed pub. A few years back Mr Sweeney returned the pub, which sits at the edge of the famous ‘Block’, to its original name.
The Eveleigh’s owner has done a beaut job to revive a pub that many would not have been game to look at sideways during the 1970s.
Despite pokie free, the Eveleigh is proof that there’s still a quid to be made in pubs without gaming machines.
“No pokies, I see,” I quipped to the barman.
“Yeah, thankfully,” he shot back.
“I’ll have a schooner of Reschs, thanks mate,” before spotting a middy glass sitting over the tap handle.
“We had a big night, last night, mate. Reschs is out. We’ve a cellar full of empty kegs. You should see it down there, it’s a disaster!”
“Well it could be worse,” I said. “You could have a cellar of full kegs.”
I settled on a Carlton, and wasn’t disappointed – a bloody good beer, crisp, clean and cold. In fact, two more schooners followed, with a few bar snacks.
The barman – a friendly bloke – told me that the pub was currently doing a roaring trade.
While we were there I noticed most customers were young university students, scattered amongst a few locals from the cluster of nearby terrace houses.
Hunt this one down. It’s a rippa.