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Monday, 21 October 2013

Sydney: Watsons Bay, The Golden Sheaf Hotel

A recent trip to Sydney afforded me an opportunity to fulfill my long-craved fix of its beautiful harbour. With family on the East side, someone suggested a drive over to Watsons Bay for a look-see and stroll around. Why, yes! How lovely, I thought, truthfully but somewhat nervously, the words "Watsons Bay" having invoked from the dark recesses of my brain a memory of eating fish and chips in the park one sunny weekend and a greedy seagull (one of the many that are constantly overfed by stupid visitors who ignore the signs clearly instructing NOT to feed the seagulls) flying to my shoulder and pecking a chip FROM MY FINGERS. Scared the LIVING BEJESUS out of me.

Nevertheless, I like visiting Watsons Bay - not least for the entertainingly windy drive past clean and impressive mansions, The Macquarie Lighthouse* and the notorious "Gap" to get there - but also because it feels like a little holiday nook of Sydney: sheltered, village-y... yes, expensive; with a pretty little beach, boats moored in the bay, the constantly-green Robertson Park sloping down to the water, a ripper pub (the Watsons Bay Hotel), and of course the infamous seafood restaurant, Doyles on the Beach (11 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay). There is also a M-F-ing STUNNING view looking back towards Sydney Harbour, and even a ferry terminal to get there, for those so inclined.

Ferry terminal & view of Sydney Harbour from Watsons Bay beach

House numbers gettin' shelly. So beachy right now

Local dinghies are stored along the beach

The bay at sunset

Watsons Bay Hotel corner sign... love the font

This was a pleasant visit - thankfully no evil seagulls too close by - and we polished off a bottle of wine in the late afternoon sunshine under some very 1980s, Cocktail-esque umbrellas in the beer garden of Watsons Bay Hotel (1 Military Road, Watsons Bay). Leaving chatty and only slightly sunburnt, we decided it would be an excellent idea to go and meet the fourth family member (sadly completely sober) at another classic Eastern Suburbs location: the Golden Sheaf Hotel (429 New South Head Road, Double Bay).

Golden Sheaf Hotel bar

We had the intention of playing pool but the marvellous Sheaf courtyard was too much of a lure, so we just drank instead. No food was involved, but I very much enjoyed the pretty lighting outside and funky lightshades over the bar. I find the staff a bit stand-offish here, but I guess that's nothing new in the Eastern suburbs (or Sydney in general... OOOOOH), and the social vibe in the courtyard makes for some great potential conversations with fellow patrons. Usually good-looking ones. Hey, just being honest.

Food counter at the Sheaf. And tall man.

Pretty night-time courtyard lighting... heaters, too

Watsons Bay and the Sheaf are both definitely worth a look if you're in town.

*Why is everything in Sydney named after Governor Macquarie? and everything in Orange something-or-other Canabolis and everything in Melbourne after Batman? -- not even the cool Batman, but the explorer? Can't we think up some new names every so often?!

Doyle's on the Beach on Urbanspoon

The Golden Sheaf on Urbanspoon