August 29, 2023

Top hospo team brings Darlinghurst pub back to life – with Chinese food, craft beer and a refreshed rooftop bar


Eating outChinese

The Taphouse is reopening, with new owners Applejack pumping out pub-friendly riffs on casual Cantonese dishes and a rooftop with Parisian summer vibes.

Bianca Hrovat

August 29, 2023

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Share Chinese food over beers at The Taphouse in Darlinghurst.Steven Woodburn

The Taphouse in Darlinghurst will reopen on September 13 with Chinese food, craft beers and a refreshed rooftop bar.

Sydney group Applejack Hospitality, known for hatted North Sydney restaurant RAFI and Surry Hills pub Forrester’s, took just three months to sharpen up the interiors after the former tenant went into liquidation in May.

The refreshed ground floor at The Taphouse.Steven Woodburn

“It was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Applejack co-founder and director Hamish Watts told Good Food.


“It’s got such amazing character, with beautiful timber flooring and original ceilings, so we tried to keep as much of that as we could.”

The rooftop bar at The Taphouse.Steven Woodburn

The ground floor will feel familiar to regulars, retaining its “moody, comfortable” character with a long marble bar, pressed tin ceilings and original 1920s wood staircase. Upstairs, there’ll be space for DJs, parties and trivia.

Watts says the refreshed rooftop channels the feeling of a Parisian summer with a fresh lick of blue paint, white picnic tables and linen umbrellas.

Culinary director Patrick Friesen and head chef Sam Ng.Steven Woodburn


Head chef Sam Ng arrives from Hong Kong fine-dining restaurant The Praya to create pub-friendly riffs on casual Cantonese dishes, like cruller prawn toast with sweet and sour sauce and Jang’s egg noodles with crispy pork belly.

There’ll also be some Singaporean classics on the menu, like black pepper crab.

“We hope to share our part in celebrating the world’s greatest cuisine,” says Applejack culinary director Patrick Friesen, who previously worked with Ng at Brisbane Cantonese restaurant Stanley.

Dumplings are among the Cantonese fare at The Taphouse.Steven Woodburn

Friesen says Cantonese food brings a sense of comfort and familiarity to the menu, two essential elements for a great pub feed.


“Have you ever tried salt and pepper squid with a beer? It’s a fantastic combo,” he says.

The Taphouse will retain its commitment to craft beer, with 20 taps of local brews from the likes of Philter, Freshwater Brewing and Mountain Culture.

Taphouse in Darlinghurst.Steven Woodburn

The pub became an early pioneer of craft beer when Stomping Ground founders Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone changed the Palace Hotel into The Local Taphouse in 2008.

Brothers Josh and James Thorpe took over in 2017 and introduced the first iteration of Odd Culture on the second floor in 2018.


James Thorpe split from his brother to found Odd Culture Group in 2020, and now runs the hatted Newtown restaurant of the same name.

Open Mon-Thu 5pm-late; Fri-Sun 12pm-late122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst

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Bianca Hrovat-Bianca is Good Food’s Sydney-based reporter.




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