Confession time: I’ve lived in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for well over six years and prior to last weekend I had not been to The Norfolk. Even after its killer makeover in December 2010 (I know, cuff me and throw away the key). Plenty of people had told me how much I would love the beer garden there – and after sitting in it for a few hours recently, they weren’t wrong. It’s laid-back, mismatched retro vibe is right up my alley (as are the cocktails)!
The effortlessness of this Surry Hills favourite is what appeals to me most. I love the clipboard cocktail menues, the glass tip jars with a pop culture reference and the old tin knife and fork holders; the same tins that schools used to hold pencils back when I was a kid (I’ve since swapped plastic scissors for a Savvy B, but the flashback moment was still there all the same!).
As I entered the beer garden the metal crates filled with moss caught my eye. Now, moss usually reminds me of those plants in doctors surgeries or corporate offices (ick), but here I have to say it works beautifully because of the industrial vibe of the crates.
The beer garden itself is an amazing concoction of many themes. It houses wooden park benches, metal chairs and long, padded benches, that are pimped out with a very cool black and white stripe. The studded vintage chairs were a standout (you know I love me a studded chair) and I was also rather fond of the mismatched aged pots in the centre of the garden; a garden is one space where I believe just anything goes, so I love the fact that this space feels a bit thrown together!
Of course the food is just as amazing as the decor. I inhaled the jumbo portion of fish and chips with the awesome coleslaw (the added jalapeño was a nice surprise!) and my other half scored the nachos (to die for nachos, I might add).
I took my camera for a loop inside and loved the use of eclectic art. This place truly is where quirky pieces go to live and they all seem to make the best of friends. I can understand why many might find this all a little bit too odd but that’s precisely what I love about it. The red walls and international art really does transport you somewhere else.
Back outside I could not get enough of the hanging lanterns and more moss baskets. They dangle from the covered roof and create a very nice industrial feel in the garden area. The thatched roofing was also a bit special. I want to come back at night to get a real feel for how this space comes alive when it’s dark!
On the way out I couldn’t get enough of their use of chalk boards. Get a load of the shot menu (I’ll go the Cherry Ripe thanks) and the very retro Sailor Jerry board. I must admit I won’t be going to the Hillbilly night but if you love a bit of a Banjo sesh then Thursday night is your night! The Norfolk is also – thankfully – completely pokie machine free and it houses not only the beer garden but as sports bar, ample dining space inside and a function room upstairs.
Have you been to The Norfolk? I’d love to get your take on it. Personally, it’s going to be one of my new watering holes because I love the relaxed vibe. I am not usually one for the more upmarket bars so this place feels like home for me (and I am dying to try their watermelon cocktail!).
Find out loads more about this local fave on The Norfolk website.
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