Referring to the term 'casual pubs' I am implying those kind of trendy pubs where you just want to catch up with a few people; something like after work drinks - not necessarily those overly noisy nightclub type of establishments. Somewhere where perhaps drinks and snacks is on the menu or perhaps some sort of feed with lengthy fun chats over drinks heading into the day or evening. Coolness.
The Monkey Bar at Balmain is definitely a trendy locale fit for the above purpose. Home to many different functions, it is a great establishment to catch up with a few friends over a few drinks. Beer or any ready to drink fit the bill here. Smashing food and ambience, and you have Gladstone Park right across the road if any serenity is needed afterwards.
Also in Balmain (right opposite the Exchange Hotel for those more formal occasions) is Dick's. No pub crawls are allowed, however for a simple family outing, the bistro area outside with a couple of cheap drinks on a beautiful spring or summer night is just terrific. Love their chicken parmas. Cheap food and quick service with background music to suit. You would be forgiven for thinking that you are hanging out in someone's backyard. Bliss.
The Paragon Hotel at circular quay is a great sit down and let's chat kind of pub, and right near all the action too. Love sitting near the open windows - let the breeze come in, perfect on a Saturday afternoon if you can't be bothered walking to The Rocks area.
Balcony views, a bird's eye view of one of the most trendiest suburbs in Sydney. To Balmain again where you will find the Town Hall Hotel. Their trivia nights are fantastic. Having been to one of them - win, lose or draw: it doesn't matter. Great times.
For a simple sit down and chat in a small cosy space inside, at nearby Rozelle you will find the Merton. Also a great locale (especially if you live on this side of Rozelle) to buy some liquor from their bar - especially if you cannot be bothered to walk up the hill along Victoria Road to Liquorland, to take home and enjoy.
Otherwise, before a movie on a Saturday night, the Albion Place Hotel on George Street provides that much needed hint of refreshment with a friend prior to seeing your chosen film. Their lemon, lime and bitters are just flavoursome. The mix is right here as well. Happy days.