Named after publican John Dick who built this pub in 1874, the hotel has stood on the corner of Beattie & Montague Sts for over 140 years with little change. For a brief period between 1886 to 1898, Dick's was also known as "Lean's Hotel" after it's second licensee Jabez Lean. It is known as "the People's Pub" not only for its cozy and conscience lack of bombastic flare, but because of it's history with the Balmain Union movement. Dick's Hotel had a verandah overlooking the street that was the scene of an accident in 1904 when a 7 year old child fell from the balcony and landed onto the road below. She sustained a broken arm and fractured wrist but was treated back to health. The verandah was removed around 1924 but the popular beer garden remains a favourite with the locals.
Heritage listed for its wonderful architecture, the imposing Exchange Hotel was the last and largest pub to be built in the 1880s. Rising up three levels, the Exchange Hotel, along with Dick's Hotel, were instrumental houses for the Balmain Labours Union that would later develop into today's Australian Labour Party. Politicians and speakers would take advantage of the height of the balconies to address crowds of the Beattie Street Push on the street below. It is unknown when the top balcony of the Exchange Hotel was removed but the balcony at Dick's Hotel was also dismantled. The Exchange Hotel recently underwent a $2 million renovation that restored it's old charm, but gave it a modern feel. The Safari Bar that, in the past, was adorned with hunting busts has now been given a face-lift to look like a 1930s Moroccan gin bar. Today the Exchange remains one of the most iconic buildings on the peninsula.