A whole heap of Sydney pubs have been transformed lately. They've gone from dingy old man havens to glammed-up drinking spots brimming with new patrons. Think of The Abercrombie, The Norfolk and the hip new stylings of The Beresford. The Duck Inn is on that list. But it might lay claim to having one of the most shocking makeovers of all.
The Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen is a hidden gem of a boozer in Chippendale. It's barely known to those outside the neighbourhood and I suspect many locals don't even know about it. Formerly the Duck and Swan Hotel, the swan has been snuffed out – or released harmlessly into the wild – and the new owners have renovated the joint from top to bottom.
Located on Rose Street, just up from the barren western reaches of Cleveland Street, and within staggering distance of the better-known Rose Hotel, The Duck Inn is a great choice for those tired of the same old hang outs and those looking to avoid university students having all-day drinking contests.
The décor inside The Duck Inn is actually bordering on the weird. Bright, clean and homely, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped into a country B&B. The designer furniture, arty pictures on the wall and slick objects look like something out of an interior design magazine. You can even lounge on the couches and play a board game.
Thankfully the classic old bar remains centre stage. It's well-stocked and the beer, wine and stiff drinks selection accommodates all tastes. They tap some pretty interesting brews such as Vale Ale and Estrella Damm – try getting those at your local. The prices are pretty fair as well, considering the money that would have been invested in the makeover and the notable absence of those ridiculous machines that have destroyed many Sydney pubs.
And while the front bar is a great place to take time out over a cold one, the pub's best feature is out the back: a brilliant beer garden. Although small, especially compared to the neighbouring Rose's courtyard, the outdoor area features shady palm trees and plenty of comfy spots to pull up and shoot the breeze in the sunshine. It's also dog-friendly, so if you've always wanted to bring Rover with you when you go for a drink, well here's your chance.
The new management has placed a heavy emphasis on the pub's grub and it's already getting favourable reviews. Popular dishes include pasta, burgers and bangers and mash – nothing too outrageous, but all done really well. Prices are also extremely reasonable for this neck of the woods.
So if you can manage to find it, The Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen is a great choice for a quiet one and offers a bit more sophistication than surrounding venues with their boozy uni student crowds. The beer garden is a secret best shared with anyone you know, as is the pub itself.
My new favourite Sydney pub! Very homely and welcoming from the moment you step in the front door. Doesn't feel like you are nestled among the streets of Chippendale at all! I have got a little tired of paying top dollar for pub food and drinks in the 'trendy' establishments around town so The Duck Inn is a welcome addition to the party and very reasonable pricing for just how fantastic the food is! It is obvious that a lot of effort has gone into creating the menu (and also the wine list!). Everyone has to check this place out at least once but be warned... you will get hooked! :)
The Duck Inns food is far from reasonable. Most meals do not come with sides, and most are very small portions. After I pay $25 for a pub meal, I don't want to leave hungry, and that is excalty what has happen on many occasions. The other thing about the new Duck, make sure you have plenty of cash as there is no ATM or EFTPOS at the bar.