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into the Australian way of life : THE LOCAL ANGLE

Perhaps Speed Beer Guzzling Should Be an Olympic Event

September 30, 2000|VALERIE GUTIERREZ

Australian pubs go back to the late 1700s, when the British first settled in Sydney Harbor. They were built by convicts on the first floor of hotels and today pubs remain a vital part of Aussie culture.

But if you go to one, "You are admitted to the bar on the understanding that you will drink beer, more beer, and nothing but beer, in large quantities, and as quickly as possible," wrote Cyril Pearl in his 1959 book, "So, You Want to Be an Australian?"

That's because until the middle of the 20th century, most Australian pubs were required to close at 6 p.m. This led to the "six o'clock swill," in which drinkers had to rush from work at 5, head to the nearest pub and start drinking as much and as fast as they could.

At the Bulldog Pub in Upland, you can tear a tinnie (drink a beer) and order an Australian meat pie, a sausage roll, or a dinkum burger made with, among other things, beets and a fried egg.

You can also eat a meat pie at The Great Australian Bite in Redondo Beach. Then, drink a Foster's beer while watching Aussie Rules Football next to the head of Rex the 'Roo, the official mascot of the bar.

But before you go, don't forget to learn the words to Australia's most famous beer song, "A Pub with No Beer," by Slim Dusty (find the lyrics at or you won't be a fair dinkum (genuine) Australian.

Details: Bulldog Pub, Upland, (909) 946-6614; The Great Australian Bite, Redondo Beach, (310) 318-2582.

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