Not all those who wander are lost - The Wanderer, Surry Hills
You may have walked past or driven past the bar a dozen times already, but it’s time to venture in, The Wanderer awaits you. This narrow bar has a lot to offer, just don’t come in expecting fancy cocktails when you could be enjoying their finger lickin’ good ribs, Mario Kart and plenty of beers to match.
With a capacity of just 50 people, you will see just one beerwoman and one beerman running the show, with a few cooks in the kitchen. The bar was initially set up with a Welshman, an Irishman and an American and is now co-owned by Welshman Matthew O’Neill and Barry Jefferson- the resident Aussie. Barry’s grin will greet you as you walk in the door and offer you your first of many drinks.
Tall wooden tables sit against exposed brick walls with portraits of past ‘explorers’ hanging on the walls. The bar itself is only 4 bar stools wide, the back wall is chock-a-block with spirits and bottled beers with the menu painted on wooden panels hanging from the ceiling above the bar.
Smokey and fried aromas hang in the air teasing the senses and urging you to peruse the menu. Start off with a bucket of Buffalo Wings; chicken wings doused in Franks hot sauce sided with ranch. These tasty bites of heaven take any traveller back to their days in Canada or the States. Pair it with Fred’s IPA (Indian Pale Ale), a darker ale with a stronger hit of spice than a classic IPA.
Head to the bar for your next beer, the Lord Nelson Dark Ale comes highly recommended; it’s made by one of the oldest pubs in Australia and brings with it a long-standing tradition of great brews. There is also a selection of wines on the ‘Who wants to be a Sommelier menu’, featuring a crisp and citrusy Chardonnay from First Creek winery in the Hunter Valley.
While you’re at the bar, put in your order for dinner- the Gorge menu has a few standouts and it’s easy to see why the punters keep coming back for more. Smokey, sticky, fresh and fried ingredients are the backbone behind some tasty pub grub. The most ordered dish on Thursdays are the RIBS, they are on special for just $14 and are ridiculously good (ditch the knife and fork, devour them with your fingers).
The Slow Cooked BBQ Pork Ribs are phenomenal, the kind where everyone at your table has food envy, when they come piled high on a wooden board. These ribs have enormous hunks of pork meat, covered in a sticky smokey sauce with sides of sweet potato chips, house Southern Style beans, fennel slaw and a smear of house chilli sauce.
Many people would overlook a burrito main in search of a hearty steak or deep fried chips. Put aside your ideas of traditional pub grub and taste test the Burrito Bowl with quinoa, black eye beans, sweet corn, salsa and your choice of pulled beef/ crispy chicken or roasted pumpkin and haloumi. This Burrito Bowl is more a corn-chip bowl as big as your face stuffed to the brim. Considering how impressive the size of this dish is, it's surprising that you walk away feeling as though you have eaten a light and refreshing meal, but still full.
Now, let’s talk about the Mario Kart set up on the 40” TV in the back. Nintendo 64 games with beer appeals to both friendly competitors and the in-it-to-win-it rivals. Get ready for some Mario Kart, 007 Golden Eye and Super Smash Brothers. With 4 controllers, you can verse a mate or pick a match with someone from the bar. When in doubt challenge Barry, he holds all the high scores and will defend the title even if that’s means leaving the bar for a game or two.
Wednesday: Free Quiz with lots of prizes + $14 Burrito + $5 Tecate Beer with lime and salt
Thursday: Live Music, $14 Ribs + $6 Dark and Stormy's
Friday: $ 12 Bucket of wings and a Craft Beer
Saturday: $18 Schooner of Craft Beer and Burger
Sunday: $15 Pies + $15 Pitches
Plus they take reservations!
If you happen to be there until close and are a little too intoxicated to wander out of the bar with your virtues intact, rumour has it that the bar has a sliding door, not some voodoo magic for the sober to deal with.