Old Growler in Kings Cross, Sydney, a tasty underground dive

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The punkiest burger bar I’ve encountered in Sydney so far is the Old Growler in Kings Cross.

Old Growler exterior

The underground bar (literally, you take steps to go down), instantly makes you feel cool in the dark and divey exclusive atmosphere.

Old Growler Sydney stairs

The bar has a large selection of draft beer, and I really enjoyed the refreshing and perfectly sweet Young Henrys Cloudy Cider, made here in Australia, $10 AUD for a pint. Order and pay for food at the bar, and a server will bring out your eats.

Old Growler Sydney bar

The Veggie Burger ($15) was a fried patty topped with field mushroom, chèvre and seeded mustard mayonnaise on a brioche bun, with a side of beer battered chips.

Old Growler Sydney veggie burger and chips

Every bite of the burger was enjoyable, and I quickly gobbled it up. The portion of thick-cut fries was a little smaller than I’m used to, but the meal left me satisfied and not stuffed, perfect for a bar night out. Other meal options include Australian classics like chicken schnitzel, plus poutine, fish, steak and cheese boards.

The crowd was super-friendly, and there was lots of comfortable seating.

Old Growler Sydney

I loved the fun touch of the bear designs on the food placeholders.

Old Growner Sydney interiorPlus, there was a delightfully smutty gender-neutral bathroom, decorated with sexy pictures, which added to the dive atmosphere.

Yelp Sydney recently named the Old Growler one of the city’s top burger destinations, and I can see why. The lively atmosphere, quick food service and large libation selection that includes wine, champagne and mixed cocktails makes it a Kings Cross hot spot.

Learn more about the Old Growler here.

Happy Endings Comedy Club in Kings Cross, Sydney, hosts underground shows

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I’m so excited to have learned the Sydney comedy scene seems quite strong in Australia, as the past two comedy shows I’ve been to have featured full houses and lots of laughter throughout. This past weekend, I attended my first stand-up show at Happy Endings in Kings Cross, an intimate underground 65-person theater with a stylish lounge up top where attendees can drink and chat before the show starts.

Happy Endings Comedy Sydney Kings CrossI went to a “happy hour” there, an hour-long show that featured three stellar Aussie comics: Sean Woodland, Ray Badran and Chris Radburn. After getting a drink (the bar is cash only) and waiting in the lounge for about 15 minutes after show time, the theater was opened to attendees, who were ushered in party by party and given seats. Everyone had a great view of the stage, and many were near tables, allowing patrons to set their drinks down.

Happy Endings Comedy Sydney Kings Cross

I wouldn’t say there are many significant distinguishing characteristics between the stand-up comedy styles of Aussies versus Americans, though I have discovered, I tend to “Wooo!” a lot more than Australian audience members. This difference was blatantly pointed out in the warm-ups for a live talk show I attended in Australia, when the audience was told to “cheer and clap like Americans” in order to convey excitement during the show. While I’m used to participating and cheering if a comedian asks a question I can relate to, in Australia, I haven’t witnessed that as much.

Despite the more subdued audiences in terms of cheering (there is still lots of laughing), the stand-up comedy was relatable in Australia, as Woodland told a killer party story involving Sinéad O’Connor, Badran had engaging weight loss anecdotes, and Radburn hysterically talked about fatherhood. What I did think was interesting was that every single comic mentioned America in their set. After hearing a joke from the door lady about “stupid Americans” directed towards my party before entering, I found the remarks about my home country interesting, as always, here in Australia.

From the chill lounge experience up top, to the excitement of the underground show, to the cozy feel of the comedy club combined with the personal ushering to your seat, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and high-quality talent at Happy Endings. My only suggestion for improvement would be to swap the curtain dividing the club from the lounge to a door. As soon as ticket holders for the following show started congregating in the lounge, their laughter and talking could be heard downstairs, which was a bit distracting from the show. Otherwise, I can’t wait to head back and see more entertaining Aussie comedy.

For more information on Happy Endings, head here.