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Copyright Melway Publishing 2003.
Reproduced from Sydway Edition 9 with permission.
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Here's an important tip for you for next Anzac Day. The nexus of Balmain's two-up fever happens here, between Dick's
and the Exchange. We noticed this before we even caught sight of the pub. The street was wedged and coming closer we could clearly see that the overspill from both pubs was massive, but we'd arranged to meet people here, so we ventured in.
It quickly becomes apparent, on a day like this, that there's no way you can find your mates in a two-level pub packed out with hundreds of people. We coudn't actually get to the balcony, or anywhere near the back-bar two-up, or into the main bar, or in fact anywhere. So we waited for Trent and sent him to the bar!
review by: Jason
The exchange is a handsome, spacious pub on the corner of Beattie and Mullens Streets in Balmain (if you take the bus to Balmain, you'll pass it). Pretty stylish, but being away from Darling Street, it's often less packed than its main street brethren.
Downstairs the Local's Bar is open, wood-floored with plenty of bar space. Upstairs, on the other hand, is an exercise in contrast, at least we think so. The 'Safari Bar' is graced with tiger-print carpet, stuffed heads and trophies. Weird. Ever seen 'Evil Dead II'? If you have, try not to sit too close to the okapi, that's all I'm saying! The Safari Bar is surrounded by a spacious balcony, which really is a prime spot to catch a cooling breeze on a summer's day. Food is available, though we weren't too impressed with the mezze plate, which seemed very small for the price. Happily though for us the Guinness was cold and the breeze was cool.
One final note. Don't go there if you're on a rowdy pub crawl. Several signs outside make it quite clear that pub crawlers aren't welcome. For you guys, there's Dick's just across the road.
review by: pubguide staff