Another week, another classic Sydney pub is taken over and glammed up. The KB Hotel on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills has been relaunched as the Keg & Brew and the new owners promise a "haven of bourbon, beer and bites" with a lick of the American South.
The team behind Surry Hills' Dove & Olive hotel are responsible the takeover. The old KB's no-frills interior has been given the heave-ho in favour of western kitsch, cowskin upholstery and lots of taxidermy. The mounted water buffalo is nothing short of intimidating.
The new KB is a haven of craft beer, with 33 unique beer taps. Six of the taps will be dedicated to "Golden Oldies" (aka standard beers) such as VB, Carlton, and Reschs, however the focus will be on Australian craft beer, particularly drops from local breweries.
"We really are trying to keep it as local as possible," says Keg & Brew licensee Simon Kraegen. "Any little new breweries opening up we're very partial to."
Breweries currently represented on tap at the pub include 4 Pines, Batch, Willie the Boatman, Lord Nelson, Dalgety, New England Brewery, Nomad, Riverside and Rocket Science.
Three hand-pumps have also been installed.
"Using a hand-pump is a very traditional English style of serving beer," Kraegan says.
"It's generally used more in climates that are quite cold. That's because the beer that comes out of a hand-pump is usually a lot lower in carbonation and a little bit higher in temperature. Basically the beer is a bit warmer and a bit flatter.
"With hand-pumped beers generally what you'll find is the flavour is a lot more vibrant. It's really good for the malty beers like real ales and the darker beers we put on."
The hand-pumps currently feature Young Henry's hop ale, Greene King IPA and The Grifter Omen (an American-style oatmeal stout). The hand-pump selection will rotate just like the Keg & Brew's other craft beer taps.
The bar also stocks a respectable selection of 30 bourbons and Tennessee whiskies.
The menu is full of traditional pub food with a touch of Americana. There's breaded and fried bacon bites, deep-fried oysters, Philly cheese steak and buttermilk fried half-chicken with Louisiana hot sauce. There are also daily specials including $9.90 burgers and a $17 Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
Nitro taps are the next step for Kraegan.
"I'm looking into it now with my beer plumber," he says. "It's for beers like Guinness that are carbonated with nitrogen and have a really creamy texture."
26 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, 02 9212 1740, kegandbrew.com.au