At the end of a day’s adventure, often one of the best feelings is to slurp a cold ale in a good pub and let its warm tingle bathe you in merry reflection of a life well lived. There’s few finer ways to cap off a day’s travel, particularly when a pub’s done right. Here’s my take on the best pubs in Australia, all which have filled me with fond memories.
The Burketown Pub ~ Burketown, QLD
Touted as Queensland’s most remote pub, the Burketown Pub is situated near the immense salt plains of the Gulf of Carpentaria, in far northern Australia. When I had the good fortune to visit this town of around 200 people, I’d entered the pub after a day swimming with freshwater crocodiles. That night was an intimate party with the locals in the pub’s bucolic bar, a night I’ll never forget. The location alone makes the beer taste that much better.
“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer” ~ Frank Zappa.
The Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen ~ Chippendale, Sydney, NSW
Ensconced in Sydney’s backstreets, near the heart of the city, the Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen is a smallish, character-filled watering hole that’s well worth a visit. Besides its polished wooden floorboards and towering burgers, there’s a quaint courtyard outback ideal for sucking on a cold pint and letting your tongue waggle. A must visit in Sydney.
Daly Waters Pub ~ Daly Waters, NT
Sitting approximately 600 kilometres south of Darwin and 900 kilometres north of Alice Springs, the Daly Waters pub is widely regarded one of the best pubs in Australia due to its countrified character. When I was here, some time ago, the steaks where as large as half a cow, while the walls were smeared with foreign currency and underwear from those who failed to sink a ball during a game of pool. Be warned.
“I’m going to buy a boat… do a little travelling, and I’m going to be drinking beer!” ~ John Welsh, Brooklyn bus driver who won $30 million in the New York lottery.
Weldborough Hotel ~ Weldborough, TAS
In the north-east corner of Tasmania, amongst the state’s forest-clad hills, the Weldborough Hotel invites travellers from its lonely roads into its warm den. Here I slurped on a superb tasting pint after a beguiling forest drive. This arcadian pub offers a huge selection of Tassie beers. Also a favourite haunt for cyclists, the hotel doesn’t have pokies, a TV or a TAB.
The Fitzroy Pinnacle ~ Fitzroy North, Melbourne, VIC
Of all the fine pubs I visited during my year in Melbourne, The Fitzroy Pinnacle remains my favourite. Its narrow building sits on a corner, fine locally brewed beers grace the taps, the food is good, cheap, and on Sunday afternoon the beer garden is a splendid place to get tipsy. Here the music is high-quality and the locals are eccentric. Wear what you like and feel good.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer” ~ Abraham Lincoln.
Clancy’s Fish Pub ~ Fremantle, WA
With most of my family living in Fremantle, I often pay a visit to Clancy’s Fish Pub, near the centre of town. This homey ale house serves an extensive selection of locally brewed beer on tap and a tasty range of seafood. Solid live acoustic acts and a whopping garden for kids propel it onto the list of best pubs in Australia. Quaff a Guinness or two, order a big bowl of mussels and sit at the bar.
Jim’s Place ~ Stuart’s Well, NT
Located about 90 kilometres south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway, Jim’s Place is an iconic Aussie pub with a cosy bar complete with a singing Dingo. I happened upon the place because my mate was working next door at Noel Fullerton’s camel farm, Camels Australia. The area is a great place for a wander if you’ve had too many. Be warned though, you could get lost.
“I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson.