The Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills on Devonshire Street is an institution. It has remained the same since I first arrived in Sydney, and describes itself as one of the last ‘authentic pubs in Sydney’. It even has accommodation upstairs, which, my non-Australian friends, is a very Australian thing to combine a hotel and bar, and is the reason why so many of the pubs in Sydney (and elsewhere in Australia) have the name ‘Hotel’ in them. I’ve actually stayed in accommodation attached to pubs twice here, and the only possible advantage of staying in a not-great room with a noisy bar below it is if you want to get so drunk that you can’t go further than a set of stairs.
But I digress.
This last visit to Shakie’s coincided with a trivia night upstairs. We’ve decided this is the go-to location for our alumni gatherings as the meals are cheap enough for folks on a budget, and it’s close enough to Central Station that people can get to it from many parts of Sydney. Food specials are $12.50. Yes, you read that correctly. And the drinks are fine. This time I had the chicken schnitzel (it took me over ten years here to hear the Aussie nickname: schnitty; this particular one was crisp, tender, smothered in tasty salty gravy on top of mash and a nice coleslaw on the side). The time before it was chicken parmigiana but I’ve tried other dishes on the menu, and it’s tasty, fresh and cheap, in a fun and unpretentious atmosphere. For that, it gets four stars out of five!