A GRAND old pub, trading for more than a century in Sydney’s inner-west, has sadly lost her ‘native title’ in recent years.
When I called into the Rose Hotel on busy Cleveland Street for a Sunday beer, there wasn’t a soul in the main bar… Strange I thought, so I ventured further into the confines of this sprawling historic old corner pub finding most customers were eating and drinking wine and craft beers in a covered beer garden area to the back.
Originally opened in 1878 as the Native Rose Hotel, probably in honour of Boronia serrulata, which grew in abundance on Sydney’s sandstone outcrops, the Chippendale pub became simply known as The Rose, I believe, sometime in the 1990s. Personally, I prefer her more botanical name (Can any readers give me a more precise year of when The Rose lost her native title?).
Not to be confused with the Native Rose Hotel at nearby Rozelle, when I visited the pub in 2018 it had joined the growing number of Sydney pubs exclusively selling craft beers. There’s no main-stream/traditional beers here. And before all you defenders of the crafty beverage go for my throat, let me say straight up, that I’m not about to knock the Rose for heading down this track. Well, not entirely.
If a pub is to sell nothing but craft or boutique beers, the staff at least should be helpful and trained to know their product, or have a back-up tap with a main-stream brew.
“Could you recommend a good malty dark beer,” I asked the young barmaid.
Looking puzzled, she replied: “I’m not sure what you would class as malty”.
“Well, what about a dark ale?” was my response.
She looked even more confused.
“Well, what about a main-stream beer,” I said.
“Sorry we only sell craft beers,” she quickly shot back.
“Ok, pour me a schooner of that one,” I said, just choosing a random beer.
I ended up drinking a fruity, gassy beer, that I didn’t enjoy at all.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I recently went to the craft only beer pub, The Taphouse in Darlinghurst, and walked away with a completely different experience.
Asking the same questions as I did the young barmaid at Darlington, at Darlinghurst I was given several samples of beer to taste.
The Taphouse bar tender advised me on what he thought would suit my taste.
In saying that, while I didn’t enjoy my beer at The Rose, I did enjoy the history feel of this pub.
She’s an oldie.
What is also impressive about this pub is the murals on the ceiling. Just be warned you may leave with a cramped neck after a visit to the Rose.
Jury’s Quick Decision
William White Drake, 33, wharf labourer, was acquitted at the Central Criminal Court today of a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of Thomas Cyril Carroll. The evidence was that Carroll and Drake were old friends and were on November 5 together at the Native Rose Hotel, Darlington. Carroll wanted to play a came of dominoes, but Drake refused and said the other was not sober. Carroll called Drake out to fight and when Drake attempted to remonstrate with him he took Drake’s hands and set them up in a fighting attitude and made a hit at him. One witness said both men were laughing when he heard a cry of ‘Oh!’ and saw Carroll falling. Carroll’s skull was fractured on the pavement. The Jury, without leaving the box returned a verdict of not guilty.
– Sydney Evening News Wednesday 29 November 1922.
- This review was first posted in 2018.
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