Few pub complexes can rightly call themselves an institution, but friends have been meeting at the Oaks since 1885. In summer, North Shore folks clamour to quench their thirsts in the shade of the giant 70-year-old oak tree out the back; as night falls, the tree’s fairy lights twinkle, and the enormous beer garden grows louder. But there are plenty of spots where you can find refuge from the chatter inside this maze of a pub. Head to the tartan-clad Governor’s Tavern, or take charge of the jukebox upstairs while showing off your pool skills in the Cue & Cushion. There's a pizza restaurant and a DIY barbecue with plenty of meat options. It’s easy to see why the Oaks has been around for as long as it has – there’s no wank-factor here, just a good, honest pub with one of the best beer gardens in Sydney.