Backyard at The Alex
Back in 2015, plans to bulldoze the 150-year-old Alexandria Hotel and replace it with an apartment block were unveiled. The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group launched a campaign to find a buyer who would save the beloved pub. Cue Merivale owner Justin Hemmes, who swooped in and purchased it – sight unseen – for $10 million.
The new Alex is centred around its outdoor family-and-dog-friendly beer garden, with food trucks, a bar in a converted shipping container, a basketball court and live music. Festoon lights hang above the packed communal tables, a DJ plays out of a hut, vines creep up the soaring brick wall of the ambulance service next door, and original graffiti mingles with some commissioned murals.
Care has been taken to preserve the pub’s heritage bones: the decaying carpet was ripped up to reveal original tiles, and the bartops and wood-panelled doors have been salvaged too. The “old man” pub features one of the only remaining carousel island bars in Sydney – an ideal spot to perch on an orange-vinyl bar stool and watch a Sydney Swans game.
The kitchen serves a rotating selection of Merivale hits, including Dan Hong’s cult-favourite El Loco hotdog – loaded with pico de gallo, jalapenos, mustard relish and a snowstorm of queso fresco. Food trucks park up in the garden and complement the menu offering.
The fun spills over into Eveleigh Green, which sits adjacent to the beer garden. Grab a burger or a skewer, a takeaway tinnie from the container bar, rent finska or giant Jenga, then splay out in the park.