NSW vs QLD: State of Origin 2018, we’re looking at you
Ah, the State of Origin. The time of year when no matter where you happen to be living, you instantly become a diehard patriot about your home state – whether you’re into football or not. Kind of like how passionate we all get at Christmas about where pavlova comes from, even if you don’t really like meringue. (It’s Australian, so just deal with it New Zealand). Anyway, we digress.
Split into three nail-biting games, held in Melbourne (game one), Sydney (game two) and Brisbane (game three), the State of Origin 2018 is one fierce competition. Who doesn’t enjoy watching large burly men tackle each other over an oval ball for the glory of their state? Yep, didn’t think so.
Fill up and cheer your state to glory
If you’re an avid supporter of the Origin, you’d best be deciding where to watch the games soon – unless you’re fortunate enough to be catching the biff live at the stadium. While watching the games at home is fine (we guess), it’s significantly more exciting to get amongst it in your local. Embrace the passion and all that. It goes without saying though, that some venues are more, erm, suitable than others, and we’re more about places that offer cold schooners and plates of delicious gastropub eats. State of Origin 2018 has never looked more appealing.
Because we’re fancy like that, we’ve gathered 10 banger spots in Sydney where you can eat, drink, be merry and hurl abuse at one another. All in good State of Origin spirit, of course. You’re welcome, you’re very welcome. So go forth, read, reserve and make sure you let those Queenslanders know who’s boss in the State of Origin 2018, NSW! sorrynotsorry
10 places to watch the State of Origin in Sydney
1. The Horse
The Horse in Surry Hills is equal parts glam and sport-friendly. What on earth does that mean, you ask? Well, this Sydney bar is home to one of the largest ranges of craft beer and spirits in the city. It’s a stunning space fit for Instagram with both indoor and outdoor seating, and it also shows the big sporting matches. Literally all your friends will be catered for here. Unless, they hate fun, which doesn’t usually happen all that often, does it? So whether you’re here for cocktails and platters or beer, burgers and footy – catching the Origin at The Horse makes a whole lot of sense.
State of Origin specials: Burgers by Chicken & Sons & local craft beer specials.
318 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010
Mon – Sat: 12 – Midnight; Sun: 12 – 10pmCheck Out The Horse
2. The Como Hotel
Set within one of the coolest spaces we’ve seen in Sydney, The Como Hotel is the perfect spot for chilling, eating, drinking and catching the State of Origin. The menu here is all about pub classics with an exciting twist. We’re talking baked Atlantic salmon, lamb shank pie and the like. Our advice is to focus on the food first, then take full advantage of the cheap beer available for Origin. You’re welcome.
State of Origin specials: $4.50 beer until the first try is scored.
35 Cremona Road, Como, Sydney 2226
Sun – Tues: 11 – 10pm; Wed – Thurs: 11 – 11pm; Fri – Sat: 11 – MidnightCheck Out The Como
3. The Bristol Arms
Perched on the corner of Slip and Sussex Streets, the Bristol Arms is home to three areas: ground floor bar, rooftop with indoor and outdoor spaces and The Bristol Kitchen where all our Australian pub grub dreams come true. This one is up there with our favourites because you can swing in after work, fill up, yell at the opposing State of Origin team and sip on delicious drinks in one fell swoop. Is there anything better? We think not!
State of Origin specials: 50c chicken wings & $5 schooners of Tooheys New and Furphy, during the game.
81 Sussex Street, Sydney 2000
Mon – Fri: 11am – late; Sat: 12pm – lateCheck Out The Bristol Arms
4. Mercantile Hotel
Ahhh, The Merc, Sydney’s oldest Irish pub. We honestly think it’s impossible to have a bad time here. Located in the heart of The Rocks underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Mercantile is heritage-listed, lively and home to a menu we think you’ll be quite pleased with. While yes, it’s as Irish as it gets, it’s most certainly showing the State of Origin and the clientele here will be the perfect amount of rowdy and passionate. You’ll love it.
State of Origin specials: Happy hour from 7 – 9pm with the game shown on the big screen.
25 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney 2000
Sun – Thurs: 10 – Midnight; Fri – Sat: 9 – 1amCheck Out The Mercantile
5. The Royal Oak Hotel
Easily, one of the best venues in Sydney, The Royal Oak has it all. It’s chic without being pretentious, has a menu that’s got something for everyone, makes a mean cocktail and also shows live sporting matches. Oh, and it’s even historic as The Royal has been serving up pints and food for over a century! Cool hey. This is one where you’ll want to make a night of it, so why not book and head in early for a round of pre-State of Origin drinks and dinner before the game starts?
State of Origin specials: State of Origin happy hour offering a jug of VB and a plate of spicy wings for only $20, from 5:30pm. Also, for those of us who like things glam, they’re doing a VIP experience package too.
28 Bay Street, Double Bay, Sydney 2028
Pub Hours: Mon – Thurs: 10 – Midnight; Fri – Sat: 10 – 1am; Sun: 10 – 11pm
Bistro Hours: Sun – Mon: 12 – 10pmCheck Out The Royal Oak
6. Harts Pub
Another Sydney pub with a passion for craft beer, Harts Pub in The Rocks has been slinging pints of the stuff since 2009. Read: before it was cool. There’s also a specially-designed menu that’s crafted to match the beers. Oh Harts, we don’t deserve you – an excellent life choice when deciding where to head for the State of Origin. Oh, and the special Origin deal they’ve got going is the froth on the beer. Sorry, couldn’t help that one!
State of Origin specials: Happy hour from kick off until 10pm, PLUS a $25 pie & pint deal.
Corner of Essex & Gloucester Streets, The Rocks, Sydney 2000
Sun – Mon: 11:30am – lateCheck Out Harts Pub
7. The Bourbon Hotel
With a million dollar position on Darlinghurst Road in Potts Point, The Bourbon Hotel is all about rustic decor, American-style food and a lively atmosphere. All the makings for a perfect State of Origin viewing, don’t you think? Offering up loads of specials, delicious cocktails and an atmosphere that’s both infectious and relaxed (before and after the games, obviously), we are huge fans of this joint. We reckon you’ll be pretty chuffed if you make it your choice for the State of Origin.
State of Origin specials: Happy hour is happening from 4 – 7pm with $5.50 pints and 2-for-$22 cocktails. Also, they do a 10% members card discount.
22 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point, Sydney 2011
Mon – Thurs: 10 – 4am; Fri: 10 – 6am; Sat: 9 – 6am; Sun: 9 – 4amCheck Out The Bourbon
If the idea of handcrafted cocktails, beer on tap and a menu featuring the best seafood in Sydney is your idea of heaven, say hello to Tackleshack. Championing eats from the sea, this Cronulla restaurant and bar is a little bit retro with a whole stack of charm and character. The team here like to keep it real though, so you can also expect weekly specials, live music and of course the State of Origin being shown. Nautical-themed and right on the Cronulla headland, catch the game and gaze at the beach during half-time. Yes, please.
State of Origin specials: 2-for-1 beers from kickoff, until the first try.
59 Gerrale Street, Cronulla, Sydney 2230
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 5 – 10pm; Fri: 4 – 10pm; Sat – Sun: 12 – MidnightCheck Out Tackleshack
9. Native Rose
One for those among us who love nothing more than relaxing with your best mates over cold beer and no-nonsense food. Pub classics are done the way they should be here – large portions, good flavours and loads of options. Located in the heart of Rozelle, this Sydney pub offers up burgers, steaks, pastas and seafood that we are massive fans of. Showing the State of Origin on the big screen, head there for a feed first, then tuck into some of those cheap jugs. Oh, did we mention they have 18 taps of craft beer?
State of Origin specials: $18 jugs of beer – serves 3 pints.
68 Victoria Road, Rozelle, Sydney 2039
Sun – Mon: 11am – lateCheck Out Native Rose
10. Zinc Bar
South Sydney has got some seriously cool restaurants and bars, and Zinc Bar is up there with the best. This Cronulla venue quenches thirsts and fills hungry bellies like no other, all while its guests overlook the rolling waves. The food is delicious, the beers are cold and the setting is unparalleled. These are but a few reasons why we think that it makes a divine location to watch the State of Origin at. Order up a few sharing platters before tucking into their Origin special and you’ll never want to leave.
State of Origin specials: $10 schnitty, yes please!
1 McDonald Street, Cronulla, Sydney 2230
Mon, Tues, Wed: Closed
Thurs – Fri: 12 – 11pm; Sat – Sun: 10 – 11pmCheck Out Zinc Bar