Does your local pub look like this? Unless one lives in Double Bay or at the ivy, I'm going to guess not.
Oh, and unless one lives in Rosebery - home of the (slightly infamous) Lakes Hotel. Pre-refurbishment days, one would have to be very brave to walk into this local suburban watering hole. Not to offend, but if you weren't one of the regulars with a schooner fixed to your hand (and probably with one or more of: beard, stubbies, trackies, beer belly, obsession with the TAB, missing front teeth), you probably wouldn't feel comforted at the Lakes.
But things change, and for the better (well, mostly) in this case. It's incredible what a couple million dollars can do. Sunday nights are now filled with families and locals who, shockingly, don't want to put a bet on every time they step through the doors.
This particular Saturday afternoon is fairly quiet in the back courtyard that's swankily decked out designer garden style, complete with outdoor entertaining areas. The sunshine-filled corner is popular, as too, I imagine, the cushion-plentiful, 10+ seater square booths by one side. If not for the Britney Spears track on the flatscreen, I could be at any high priced bar in the city.
The bistro presents a neat and tidy menu of modern pub meals at rather expense-recuperating prices.
My steak sandwich is a huge portion served on grilled Turkish bread with a hefty helping of chips. The steak is hammered thin - almost too thin beneath the waterfall of aioli - but aids ease of consumption. Mayonnaise wouldn't be my top choice as a condiment on a steak sandwich but the chips happily dip in.
The salad is a lighter, healthier pub option with a liberal helping of stunningly tender, rare-centred lamb slices among the forest of baby spinach leaves. It's not the most innovative salad ever, but considering what the pub used to be, this salad worlds away.
The Lakes Hotel joins my list of pubs with a fireplace, not to mention the sort-of indoor tree. One thing's for sure - this refurbished local will be refreshing this local through the chilly and sunny months alike.