“If you had something stolen, you could buy it back on the ground floor of this historic pub.”
Take the dizzying staircase up two flights and you’ll pass bird cage light fittings and framed conviction notices of notorious criminals. This is the East Village Hotel, a slice of Sydney’s past in Darlinghurst that was once a popular meeting place for underworld criminals.
Since 1918, the East Village Hotel has been trading on the same site. Originally called the Tradesman’s Arms Hotel, and dubbed as “Bloodhouse” for playing host to violent scenes, the establishment was the haunt of prostitutes Nellie Cameron and Tilly Devine whose main brothel was located just across the road at 253 Liverpool Street.
Step into the bar and you’ll find yourself transported to the Former Glory into a scene from the 1920s.
Chesterfield lounges, wicker chairs surrounding white cloth covered tables, a vintage drinks trolley, windows sheathed in black fabric framed memorabilia and bartenders in trouser braces are among the little touches that take you back to the time of Sly Grog uniting Sydney residents.
For the last eighteen months, owner Dylan Fairweather has taken on the task of restoring the East Village Hotel to its former glory starting with six months of intensive of cleaning. The result is a welcoming space in a part of Sydney that is just a little away of the bustle of Oxford Street.
The bar on the second level serves drinks and snacks that draw inspiration from food and libation that were popular in Sydney during the 1920s and 1930s.
Ace of Clubs (R) and The Former Glory (L)
The cocktails are redolent of that era, with The Former Glory, made with Averna, sweet vermouth, bitters, lemon juice, pineapple and egg white, paying tribute with a balance of bitterness and sweetness from the fruit. The Ace of Clubs packs stronger flavour from the Zacapa Centenario 23 yo rum with crème de cacao and lime juice.
Harriet Leigh behind the bar
El Diablo (R) and Tradesmans Martini (L)
If you like your drink on the dry side, there’s the Tradesmans Martini, named after the pub, with Tanqueray 10 and grapefruit. Of you want it to kick like a mule, you can’t go past El Diabo made with Don Julio blanco tequila, crème de cassis, lime with ginger beer that leaves a good burning sensation on the mouth.
Blood and Sand (R) and Scopes Trial (L)
The Blood and Sand, with Singleton whisky, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and orange juice is a dangerous drink as one is never enough while the Scopes Trial is a no fuss drink cocktail with a mix of straight Jack Daniels and Monkey Shoulder whisky.
Sly Grog beer
Crash and Burn, a blazer-style cocktail in the making
Dusty Negroni, with aged Dubonnet (off-menu cocktail)
Brendan Keown behind the bar
Chef Adam Spencer snacking menu is inspired by the rustic fare eaten during the twenties with modern touches and presentation.
The Trademan‘s is a hearty board with underground mutton rillettes, cheese, pickles and bread. Provolone ham and toastie are perfect to share with friends while standing at the bar. Skins, dips and dollops with the chef’s special sauce go down well with any drink.
Clockwise from top left: Provolone ham and toastie; Skins, dips and dollops; Baked beans, bacon and eggs; Mini hot dog, mustard and onions
Baked beans with bacon and eggs take on a modern twist and the mini hot dogs with mustard and onions are simply too good to resist.
Chef Adam Spencer (L) and Owner, Dylan Fairweather (R)
Ben Shipley (L) with Dylan Fairweather (R)
Chesterfield lounges and vintage drinks trolley
Conviction Notice for Matilda (Tilly) Devine
Bird cage light fitting and portrait
November will see the dining room open on the first floor with Chef Adam Spencer’s cuisine and a select range of wines from owner Dylan Fairweather’s native Barossa among others. In the meantime, the second floor of the East Village Hotel will transport Sydney-siders to the Sly Grog era in celebration of the Australian drinking heritage.
Gourmantic attended the Former Glory Media Opening on Wednesday 12 October 2011 as media guests.
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