The epitome of the small bar scene in Sydney, Shady Pines Saloon will surprise and delight you. It manages to have an exclusive feel, without the usual Sydney pretentiousness, while making everyone feel welcome. Once you have managed to find it (see below), it's hard to believe what this non-descript doorway in a dodgy laneway will reveal once you've stepped inside. Probably the first thing you'll notice is the noise: music, boisterous conversations, followed by the taxidermy. Stuffed animals and wood finishings are the main decorating themes, with blaring old-school rockabilly and country tracks (think Johnny Cash). The venue is surprisingly large and while friendly, it is far from intimate.
The specialty of Shady Pines Saloon is double-fisting. No, this is not a reference to the area's seedier past, but the idea of having a drink in each hand: typically a whisky and a beer. It also goes by the name 'boilermaker' and if you are bewildered by the vast selection, simply ask the barstaff to decide for you. If you like your whisky with ice, expect a single large chunk that cools the spirit without making it too watery. The beer list evolves and surprises. Cocktails are available too from classic to over-the-top. As for food - expect the free peanuts to be your main sustenance.
So how do you find Shady Pines Saloon? It is officially listed as Crown St, but the entry is in nearby Foley Street, a rather dodgy but well-lit back alley that runs almost parallel to Oxford St. Coming from Crown, head uphill along Foley St for about 50 metres and it is on your left. Look for the haphazardly painted white wall, a doorman and most likely a line. The photo above shows how the entrance looks. Beware, on busy nights the line is slow and at around 11:30pm (or maybe earlier), they stop people entering in time for the midnight close.
In brief: Shady Pines SaloonBest things: Sublime experience Don't miss: Double-fisting (boilermaker) and asking the barman to choose your poisons Ideal for: Small groups, catch-ups with friends, after work drinks (no bookings taken) Date tip: Sit around from the end of the bar closet to the door under the angled Moose-Head (pictured above) Gripes: Music adds too much to the crowd noise when the place is packed, slow lines, early close (last entry is typically around 11:30pm). Rating: 9/10
Last updated: November 2015
You are here: Shady Pines Saloon, Surry Hills review and address. The epitome of the small bar scene in Sydney, Shady Pines Saloon will surprise and delight you. It manages to have an exclusive feel, without the usual Sydney pretentiousness