those of you who've read our earlier review may have noticed a little mention of the Hero's secret passageway down to the harbour. Well, SydneyPubGuide.net can report that, yeah, it's really there. A very drunken visit with upcoming contributor Andy Price, formerly of Swanse, Old South Wales ended up with a guided tour of the historic underside of the pub with Patrick, our friendly barman.
The secret passageway, unfortunately, is now blocked, this being the age of reason and all, but downstairs the cellar holds other relics of a bygone age. Punishment cells now hold tanks of gas and kegs of beer, wrought iron gates still hang on rusting hinges and history lives alongside the modern technology of beer delivery.
Back upstairs we meet character after character and have a great night in the Hero, which is pretty much our favourite pub in this part of the city.
review by: Jason
Another pub vying for the title of Sydney's oldest pub, the Hero is a rough-hewn sandstone building nestled in one of the quieter portions of The Rocks.
When we visited for our review on a saturday afternoon, we were treated to friendly service, pints of Newcastle Brown Ale and and old-time jazz band casually playing on in the corner of the main bar. It was surprisingly busy, so we took up residence on one of the benches that line the walls, and waited our turn for a seat. Looking round, you can almost see history oozing out of the walls. This is a pub that won't turn into a chrome 'n' pine yuppie den any time soon.
It was pretty warm, and the huge number of ceiling fans kept everyone happy and shifted the smoke away pretty quickly. We got a seat and hung around appreciating the band. I couldn't tell you how old they were, I'm no good judge of age, but they were certainly not your 20-something acid-jazz outfit - traditional jazz and swing was the order of the day.
The crowd is friendly, though most are the other side of 40, with small cadres of younger folks mixed in, enjoying the afternoon.
We ran out of time in the end, and went away without having enquired about the 'secret passage' which we've heard runs from the pub down to the dockside, used, apparently, for smugling, press-ganging and as and escape route from the troopers in days gone by. We'll check next time, though, for sure!
review by: pubguide staff