Best pubs of all time?

Just got into a brief discussion on Facebook re best pubs in Australia. The Facebook page (site?) is called ‘Pubs your Dad and Gramps drank in’ and it is a deadset classic. We should invite Shane Backx and his mates to do something on the Almanac site – their FB page attracts many story-tellers and people who understand the pub as a social institution. Great sense of history. Lots of old photos. You can spend a long time on that page.


Someone had posted a photo of the front bar at the North Fitzroy Arms – and there was Rocky and Spud and Stuey holding court.


I added a comment – something along the lines that the North Fitzroy Arms is in my top five pubs.


One of the regulars asked me to name the other four.


Here’s my list (quickly compiled):


  1. North Fitzroy Arms
  2. Brunswick Heads Hotel
  3. Royal Exchange Hotel (Toowong 1980s,90s)
  4. Cricketers Bar at the Windsor (Spring St, Melbourne)
  5. All Nations (Richmond)



Honourable mentions to:


The Welly (North Adelaide)


St Bernard’s (Mt Tambourine)


The Clyde (Carlton)


The (old) Lord Stanley (East Brisbane)


The Queen’s Head (North Adelaide)


The Standard (Fitzroy)


West Toowong Bowls Club


The terrace under the mango tree at the St Lucia Golf Club


and so on (I could name plenty actually)


No doubt I’ve forgotten a few of my faves. I’ll add them as I think of them.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. The Queens Head is a classic!

  2. Peter Flynn says

    The next 5 I walk into.

    All time fave is the Nott.

  3. Charlie wells says

    Hmm. I’ve spent some time in pubs. Top 5…. Jeez, that’s a tough assignment. Depends on the needs of the moment. Music. Drinking to forget or to remember. Watching the Cricket. The mating ritual. Martinis on Rathdowne st. 70’s The George on Fitzroy st. (Ballroom era) Annadale, Sydney. Isle of white. Philip island.(lyles and westernport too.) some joint up in Nth Western Australia. That brain cell is shot. They made us drink at the outdoor bar with the “.blackfellas” cause we were Victorians and Murray had a collingwood jumper on probably The worst hangover ever endured by a human..The royal antler in narrabeen.rates too. International. Star bar Hamburg. Rathjskeller Boston. Howling Dog Alaska. Bison brewing co. Berkeley. Heinholds first and last chance. Oakland.

  4. Love a list. Love a pub.

    Ye Olde Fighting Cocks- St Albans, Hertfordshire. England’s oldest and most charismatic boozer. Ceiling so low it made me feel like a centre half-forward when I walked in, and most certainly as I left.
    The Magpie and Stump- Mintaro, Clare Valley. Gum trees and vineyards; idyllic beer garden. No aural pollution from within or without, just birdsong.
    Prince of Wales- Kapunda. Hometown favourite. Colossal former minehost.
    The Kings Inn- Mousehole, Cornwall. Redolent of pirates and rum, romance and treasure.
    The Exeter- Rundle Street, Adelaide. Eclectic perfection.

    Honourable mentions
    The Goat- St Albans, Hertfordshire
    The Taminga- Clare
    All Nations- Richmond
    Greenock Tavern- Barossa Valley
    Lemon Tree- Carlton
    Seacliff Hotel- Adelaide

  5. John Holmes says

    Talking of pubs … I once worked with a guy who told me he suffered from alcoholic constipation:
    “He couldn’t pass a Pub”
    Actually, we didn’t know he drank until he turned up sober one day.
    My doctor once asked me if I drank much, I said no…I spill most of it … boom! boom!

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Grace Darling-Collingwood
    The Tote-Collingwood
    The Retreat-Collingwood
    Morning Star-Collingwood
    Misspent youth drinking in Collingwood obviously…

  7. Shane John Backx says

    Not a pub as such, but the Don Tallon bar at the old Gabba was sensational. Got into a fantastic and memorable conversation with a couple of old Yorkshiremen about the game and the great players they and I had seen going back to Bradman and Hutton in 1994-95. Magnificent place to watch cricket from.

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Maybe my response needs a different thread.

    Crap pub, but I met Mrs Swish at the Donkey Kong machine at the Buckingham Arms, Walkerville, so it is special to us. Even crapper was the (other) Exeter Hotel on Semaphore Road where we had our reception.

  9. Swish- what were you doing in a Frogger-free pub?

  10. Hmmm, good question. Mostly for personal reasons rather than general pubbyness:

    The Historian – Adelaide
    The Exeter – Rundle St, Adelaide
    Jack Ruby – Adelaide
    The Wig and Pen – Canberra
    Mt Remarkable Hotel – Melrose

    Hon mentions to the Earl of Leicester, Bent Spoke, Grace Emily and the Austral

  11. 30 years back i might have said the Moonee Ponds Tavern. 25 years back i would have said the Lincoln in Carlton. 20 years ago the Lord Newry in North Fitzroy.

    So may pubs, so much drinking to do: in one life time !

    As of 3/11/16 my current face five are,
    Royal Oak Hotel. N Fitzroy
    Harts (Victoria) Hotel. Footscray
    Tanswells Commerciall Hotel. Beechworth
    North fFitzroy Arms N . Fitzroy
    Royal Hotel. Corowa

    Special mentions for; how long’s a piece of string?

    Go to Ardlethan, Byron Bay, Berrigan, Echuca, etc, there are great pubs out there.


  12. Mickey, DB

    The Exeter is a ripper. Where else but in SA would a inner city, urban decay-y, grunge-y, student-y pub have Rockford Basket Press on the wine list (on the blackboard).

    Remind me who ran the Greenock Tavern? He was a legend of the Barossa. I think he’s still going. The Mt Mary is a classic – had a couple of Coopers Stouts there on the way up the river to North Point a couple of years ago.

    I see the Canberra reference DB. I’ll have to add the Kingo to my list.


  13. JTH- Norton Schulter ran the Greenock pub. He and Puffer from Kapunda’s Prince of Wales pub would occasionally lunch together, and these were gigantic affairs. Norton’s son Mick also tended the pub for many years, and he was a Mail Medallist (1979) at Freeling FC.

    Both Schulters (and Puffer) had the gift of making you felt as if you were the exact person they wanted to walk through the door at the very moment you did.

    All could teach “Running a Pub” at TAFE etc.

  14. Love it.

    The Lomond, Brunswick East – my local. I think it has everything. In fact, it could just be the best pub of all time.
    So many stories. Memories. Heaps more to come.
    Live music. PayTV for the footy. A racing bar. Brunswick Bitter and Guinness on tap. Great parma. No pokies. Free lemonade for the kids when you buy your pot. Inner suburban snooker comp. Irish sessions around the front bar. Just superb.
    Thursday nights free blues sessions are sensational – e.g. Chris Wilson next Thurs 10th.

    We were ducking home from the primary school after voting in local council elections a couple of Saturdays ago, when the heavens opened, So we ducked into the Lomond.
    Pints, lemonades, bags of chips – and Moonee Valley flickering in the far corner.
    “Let’s have a bet,” says Nothofagus cunninghammii.
    “No way, mum,” say the kids. “That’s wasting your money.”
    “I hear Winx runs well,” I say.
    And so she makes the bet, we watch the winner home, and the kids now know where money comes from.

    Other noms:
    – North Fitzroy Arms – superb convivial pubishness
    – the Empress, Nth Fitzroy – for that first lamb shank with the woman who would later choose to have kids with me.
    – the Punters Club (dec), Fitzroy – for uni days leaving my suburban chrysalis, hot summer nights, music and the stickiest of sticky carpet.

    A couple of footy stories set at the Lomond over the years:
    WC v COL 2014:

    GWS v COL 2016:

  15. I don’t go south of the lake in Canberra, JTH, but the Kingo has the distinction, at least, of being a proper pub amongst a sea of pokie ridden clubs (my favourite of those, of course, being the Ainslie Footy Club). The hipster micro brew culture has at least brought forth Bent Spoke in Braddon, while the Wig & Pen pre-dated that cultural phenomenon by about 20 years but now sits very comfortably within it. Many evenings of my pre-kid 20s spent underneath its low ceiling (before it moved onto the ANU campus).

  16. charlie brown says

    In the mid-80s in Adelaide it was the Queens Head. It was hard to go past. In fact I didn’t. I lived next door at St Marks.

    Fast forward to 2016 and I agree with some other posts above – The Exeter in Rundle Street where a guy in black tie and a guy in thongs and shorts are equally welcomed and neither stands out.

    Grace Emily also a great pub with Adelaide’s coldest beer and most eclectic paraphernalia adorning the walls.

  17. In no particular order.

    The Old Lion (North Adelaide – Friday Night late 80s) – Stolly joining in with the two man band and singing American Pie not knowing the microphone was off was always a classic.

    The Orient (The Rocks, Sydney – after midnight on Friday Night, ie wee hours of Saturday morning, early 00s)

    O’Henerys (Finchley rd, North London – Early 90s)

    The Windsor Castle (Paddington, Sydney, late 90s to early 00s, was a great venue to watch Friday night AFL games – it’s now a $13m family home)

    The Cricketers Bar (Spring Street, Melbourne – straight after any AFL Grand Final)

    Honourable mention to the The Kebab and Calculator (Somewhere in England – I never went there but it looks like a cracker)

  18. Like a few other ‘posters’ on the site i rate the Lomond highly. TAB live music, quaint little beer garden, but as i’ve not been there since February i can’t include it; for the time being.

    If i had to substitute one of my 5 selections i would say the Echuca Hotel is spot on. . Dave and his team run a Great pub. Good rooms to stay in, live music during the Winter Blues festival, great tucker, friendly staff, a TAB, hang on it’si probably my numero uno pub.

    Highly recommend it. Ring Dave and the crew on 5482 10187, book yourselves in for a weekend there. You’l love it.


  19. Phil – that Collingwood Retreat – is that the cracker on Nicholson St?
    I heard it was used as a set for The Sullivans..?

  20. JTH,

    Agree with the honorable mention of West Toowong Bowls Club. I worked at the Salvos nearby so WTB became our Friday arvo local. Beautiful setting, nice and quiet, only 6 pokies, cheap beer and although the range was limited it did include Coopers which was all I needed.

  21. All time:
    Exie, Adelaide (NOT the one at the Port)
    British, North Adelaide
    Kentish Arms, North Adelaide
    Lord Newry, North Fitzroy
    Brisbane, Perth.

    Couldn’t find room for my old (youth) local, the Kariwara. Nor the Lizzie tavern.

  22. Anthony W Collins says

    1. The Federal Hotel – Thursday Island
    I haven’t been there since 1995 …. but it was absolutely sensational
    Incredible seafood and the Mills sisters singing in the front bar.

    2. North Gregory Hotel – Winton Qld
    In 1992 it was magnificent with a massive bar in the public.

    3. The one with Chloe in Melbourne.

    4. the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh Scotland

    5. Red Earth Mount Isa

  23. Earl O'Neill says

    Great pubs are as much about the time as the place.
    The Hopetoun, c 84 -93, was great fun, rock and roll bands, good bunch of regulars, drugs and sex in the ladies dunny, the graffiti in there was astonishing! And informative.
    Queen Vic in Enmore, sold last year to the evil J Hemmes, was another beaut, 15 screens of sport, old blokes studying the formguide, good cheap food.
    My new local, the Earlwood Hotel (would you drink there? Earl would) is a traditional blokes pub, lotta hi-vis shirts and a good friendly vibe, Perky Girl and I like to pop down there for a couple.
    Rooftop bar of the Rex Hotel in Saigon. $6 cocktails and an unmatched ambience.
    The first pub I entered in Ireland, Dublin’s Hopetoun, pix on the wall of a teenage U2 playing there. ’94, Sydney pubs had three on tap, new, old, Resch’s, this pub had FIFTEEN taps. Two Guinness, five ciders, eight beers. I sat at the bar and watched the expertise, the Guinness slowly filling, wonderful.
    Most Irish pubs have something pecial, whether two blokes sitting and reading and quoting lines to each other, or shutting the doors at closing time, continuing to serve and passing around hash joints.
    Our local is 100 yards away. That counts for a lot. I can’t think of a pub in Sydney that I’d go to otherwise.

  24. Bob Morrow says

    I agree it is as much about the time , the people & the place.
    For all you inner city trendoids here are some alternatives
    Panton Hill ,past Eltham. Great country Pub that burnt down a few years ago but they rebuilt the same as it was.
    Further up the road St Andrews . Although the extended “new” Pub is OK the original was a cracker in the 80s. Farmers , Bikies [the bad ones] , locals & blow ins like us – no one cared & the Publican had an amazing cellar with old reds at silly low prices. Mind you in Winter you had to warm the bottles up by the fire as his cellar was a real cellar.
    Dingo Beach – north of Airlee Beach. Exactly what you imagine a FNQ Pub would be like . No walls just blinds when the cyclones came. The stubby holder holder nailed to one of the posts & a grumpy Barman – Perfect
    I agree with the All Nations I have been frequenting it off & on for over 40 years.

  25. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hey Rabs, waddya got against the Rose and Crown, mine host ex Test bowler Merv Waite

  26. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Yes ER, The Retreat where Dave, Norm and Uncle Harry drank. “Damn This War, Grace”
    Non-Collingwood Pubs:
    Empire Hotel – Queenstown Tasmania (Carpets and toilets smelt the same in 2011 as they did in 1978)
    Lincoln Hotel – Carlton Late 80s/early 90s Glen! (Had that smell of piss, peanuts,students,unionists and the ‘War Cry’)
    North Fitzroy Arms (Succulent Parmas)
    Punters Club (Early 90s)
    Clifton Hill Hotel (Early 90s)

  27. Undoubtedly no. 1 pub Pacific Hotel Yamba.. best view over surf in Australia. Everything about it I love

    Agree with above comment re Federal hotel on Thursday island and the Mills sisters playing, stayed there and totally enjoyed it’s ambience.

    Lions Den up past Daintree

    Great northern at Byron

    And well any Sydney pub with Art Deco tiles

  28. Streaky Bay is an absolute ripper and no doubt, a place that’s still in celebration mode after their favourite son won another Melbourne Cup. Great view of the bay from the alfresco area, even better with a sea breeze and some fresh King George Whiting.

    The Queen’s Head in North Adelaide is always a great stop after the cricket. It’s not far from Adelaide Oval but it is uphill.

    The Lady Burra Brewhouse at the Northern end of the Adelaide CBD is another water hole not far from Adelaide Oval. It’s a microbrewery and pub in the heart of the city. It’s like a little version of Little Creatures in Fremantle

  29. JTH, agree with the Brunswick Heads hotel, just magnificent.

    Others for consideration include the Stradbroke Island Pub preferably in the late 80s early 90s, the Wye Beach Hotel (Vic) & the Eimeo pub near Mackay (Qld).

  30. G’day Phil, i might have passed you in the Lincoln. Punters Club, cool in the early 90’s. Tuesday they had the Rock Against Work gigs starting around 5 pm. Good stuff.

    Kate the Great Northern in Byron is nice but can you beat sitting outside the Railway having some tucker, a coldie and a yap?

    Bob Panton Hills is good, though it’s now a tad pricey. I recall being at the St Andrews pub on the Monday night just prior to Black Saturday,. The step daughter had friends performing in a band. Geee whizz the world all changed a few days later.

    Charlie Wells i remember Martinis: last century. As Freddie Negro once sung, “Where have all the old pubs gone ?”


  31. Peter Crossing says

    Basically, any pub with Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road on the jukebox.
    Far flung examples include:
    Junee Hotel
    Commercial Hotel, Hay
    Wombat Hotel (NSW)
    Roebuck Bay Hotel, Broome
    Prairie Hotel, Parachilna or Blinman Pub (can’t remember which, maybe both)
    Roxby Downs Motor Inn
    Hyde Park Hotel, Adelaide (pre up-grade)
    There are many other examples. The quest continues, spasmodically.
    Other notable plays have disappeared into the foggy mists of time but I do remember firing up the juke box in the Bodiam Castle pub, East Sussex to play Layla. The Bodiam Castle is in Dad’s Army country, just up the road from where I once played in a cricket match fielded by another pub side, the White Dog (Ewhurst) against the Kentish Farmers on what could only be described as a “sporty” wicket.
    Pubs of East Sussex represents a whole other story.

  32. How could I forget my local the Railway Hotel in Jametown! A quaint country pub, just off the main Highway (RM Williams Way, running through town, being the link between Clare and Hawker).

    The pub is a mainstay of the farming community, especially the local sheep and wool growers. It’s the closest watering hole to the nearby regional sheep market, that serves SA’s North, North West and North East as well as the West of New South Wales.

    The pub’s North East enterance to the bar is colloquially known as the “Sheep Shit Corner”, complete with signage hanging from the roof. The origins of the name are cause for as much debate as selecting the Australian test team or the AFL all Australian side.

    It’s argued as to whether the name came from a cleaner complaining about all the sheep manure that came in from the work boots of the farmers, livestock agents or meat buyers calling in for a drink or two after the sheep market, or whether it has more to do with the tall tales from a few of the locals about the prices that their sheep managed to reach at the market.

    It’s also home to the arguably the best barbeque, prime lamb steak sandwiches make an appearance straight off the hot plate after each market.

  33. 1. My local, the Stag’s Head, Williamstown. One of the last of the old neighbourhood corner pubs.
    2. the Poacher’s Paradise, Rutherglen.
    3. Great Ocean Road Brewhouse (formerly Ballarat Hotel), Apollo Bay.
    4. Kings Head, King William St, Adelaide.
    5. Prince Albert Hotel, Williamstown, Vic.
    One of the biggest issues with the ever-increasing value of highly sought-after inner urban property is the number of pubs that have been re-developed into townhouses.
    5 late, great, much lamented pubs to have disappeared over the last generation:
    1. The Strand Hotel, Newport (closed, circa 1992) – there is something to be said for a pub with a mighty long bar; the happy half-hour (5:30 til 6 Fridays, all beer free) was an exercise in anthropology which would have mystified even Attenborough.
    2. The Bristol Hotel, Williamstown (closed 2014) – this establishment was truly a step back in time – possibly the last of the old non-gentrified pubs.
    3. The Terminus Hotel, Williamstown (closed circa 1975) – referred to by locals as ‘the jungle’, for once you were in there it was impossible to get out.
    4. The Britannia, Williamstown (closed circa 1994) – before karaoke or “mic nights” were a thing, the Saturday night sing-along was an event which should have been bottled for its community spirit.
    5. The Oriental, Williamstown (closed circa 1994) – an old dockside pub with a massive bar whose days dwindled in time with the dockyards’ workforce downsizing.

  34. Peter the commercial Hotel i sfine. I’ve been to two in Junee, though can’t recall the names. tHe big old one was fine, the other; not !

    Smokie the Poachers Paradise is quite salubrious as befitting current day Rutherglen.

    The Yacht Club in Williamstown was grouse in the 1980’s, with good, no thrills pub meals. The modern Yacht Club is its antithesis.

    You mention the Bristol was possibly the last of the non gentrified pubs. The Buckingham in Footscray, closed 2011 was never gentrified. Peter German’s current pub, Harts (Victoria) in Victoria St Footscray still feels like an old style pub. Give it a try.


  35. Smokie- the King’s Head on King William Street is a beauty. Some mates from home and I get in there two or three times a year for a regular catch-up. As a point of difference it only serves local beer, wine and food. We go on Fridays and there’s no TAB, and no footy on the TV either. I like it for a change. They also have DJ nights and the recent one was a Smiths-themed event. When you need a break from your usual boozer it’s like having a pub holiday!

  36. Mickey,
    As a young buck on a end-of-season footy trip, I tasted my first ever Coopers Pale Ale – on tap – at the Kings Head. It was a Road to Damascus moment.

  37. The Brickies and De Marcos in Essendon..ah where have all the pubs gone. I saw Johnny O’Keefe at the Brickies in 1976 with the family and claim, at 50, to be the youngest person alive to have seen JOK sing live. Any challengers?

  38. barry nicholls says

    This looks like an advert for one of the main sponsors of the web site. Conflict of interest anyone?

  39. Yes, Barry, to the uninitiated it may seem that way.

    We bumble along, doing our best to maintain a platform for people to publish their writing and other creations.

    But I’ve been going to the North Fitzroy Arms since 2003. Once a week – and more.

    It was the home of early informal lunches we put together (pre-Almanac) – we called them Loose Men Charities lunches. We raised cash for a charity chosen by Max the Namer of Charities. They were a lot of fun, and generated many stories.

    Unlike a lot of commercial organisations who will go where the cash is (they are commercial organisations after all), we have relationships appropriate for us. We are at the North Fitzroy Arms because it is my pub.

    You are welcome at any events to see what they’re like.

    Perhaps you’d like to become a member and help support the Almanac so we have the resources to continue our labour-intensive enterprise.

  40. 1. Belmont Hotel (Perth) in the 80s it was yer classic suburban beer barn, and a rock venue.

    2. The Shents (Perth), many a night watching Warner rip it up

    3. The Empress (North Fitzroy), on arriving in Melbourne in 1992 and living nearby it became our local. Front bar filled with the wash of the streets just before Nth Fitzroy started to become gentrified and you had punks standing side by side with old bloke sipping ponys, next to the suited up and the battling musician. Back bar (tiny room) was a bar-room (I think Dinosaur Jr even played there). There was the pool room filled with student art and a little area out back they had the audacity to call a beer garden. Family who owned the pub lived upstairs and they may have had about 18 beautiful daughters. Mum was a stunner too.

    4. The Espy (just because)

    5. Henry’s Cellar Bar (Edinburgh), little music joint under Lebowskis, cramped and comfy, catering to the underground and grass roots music fans. I stumbled in there a couple of weeks ago, took 4 steps towards the bar, missed a step and collided into 4 guys. Everyone was cool, no agro. I picked myself up, went to the bar ordered their house special, “good cunts” larger and enjoyed a night of 10 different DJs, including Belle and Sebastian’s keyboard player, playing the funkiest Latin, soul, rap, pop and RnB going around. Yes, I recommend.

  41. Victory Hotel (Sellicks Hill, SA) – more of a destination than a local (someone has to drive down Main South Road) but the food is terrific, plenty of Coopers on tap and the view of the Southern Vales & Gulf St Vincent is unbeatable. (I have *some* local bias.)

    Worldsend Hotel (Adelaide, SA) – THE pub for students/arty wankers/fringes of the Adelaide stage scene (of which, I was a member of all three) that haunted West Hindley in the 00s. My liver may not yet recover from student deals on pints of James Squires Amber. Quiet rock, jazz and absinthe were served. Oh, and conveniently situated near Marcellina’s.

    The Corner Hotel (Richmond, VIC) – they play a bit of good music at times there, hey? I had a memorable night with mates and new mates on the rooftop once upon a time, on a terribly warm summer’s night, and ending up sleeping on a beanbag at a random place… which turned out to be north of the river. There must have been a scene missing there.

    The Lord Nelson (Sydney, NSW) – now they’ve hit the 175 year mark, I think it’s safe to say this place will be around for a while. For good reason too – it’s the oldest of the old school, in the best way possible. After a session of those pints of their very own ales and porters, I’m staggering back through The Rocks like a rum-addled convict.

    The Townie (Newtown, NSW) – okay, this is really a terrible pub, but it is a Sydneysider rite of passage to be upstairs at 2 or 3am on Sunday morning drinking some sort mixer and coke. (I think we’re still allowed to do that in Newtown but last time I was in that situation, there were an awful lot of non-‘alternative’ 18 and 19 year olds on site). Oh, and they do have the best general and music trivia around. (I won the general trivia jackpot once… the answer was Helen D’Amico, 1982.) The beer on tap is usually quite good as well. But it is terrible.

    Honourable mentions:
    The Woolpack (Parramatta, NSW) – only because I met the lady friend there
    Dove & Olive (Surry Hills, NSW)
    The Royal Albert (Surry Hills, NSW)
    The Kent Town Hotel (Adelaide, SA) – me dad owned it briefly in the 90s.
    The Exeter (Adelaide, SA)
    The Colonist (Norwood, SA)
    The Tote (Collingwood, VIC)
    The Grace Emily (Adelaide, SA) – minus points for the ‘drum machines don’t have a soul’ sticker they had behind the bar.
    The Union (Newtown, NSW)
    The White Hart Inn (Edinburgh, Scotland)
    John Henry’s Pub (Admore, PA, United States) – JH’s was my local when I lived over in America, every Friday night after work was fuelled on Yuengling. Once counted that it was 126 steps from my bedroom to the bar.

  42. used to love Tramway. and frequented All Nations for the great affordable grub in the mid-90s. Napier for the fire and yellow/red pool on a Sunday.

    Harold Park late 80s was the best of the music pubs for mine. But Hoey a close second.

    Brunswick Heads is the best pub. In the world. We have been heading to Wooyung nearby since 1971. Best beach. In the world.

    Century Tavern in the city was always great before a gig or just to escape the city feel. Had When the Levee Breaks on the jukebox, which was a great dealmaker.

    There was a pub In Stromness where you could sit up the hill and watch the fleet come back across Scapa Flow, mates checking off mental lists to ensure all were safe. Best view in the world.

  43. Peter W,

    On matters Brunswick Heads, you’ve got me by a decade. My first trip was to camp by the river in 1981. There were still oysters on the rocks. The pub’s beer garden was couch grass and sand – under the poincianas (which are now enormous).

    PLayed a lot of golf at Ocean Shores over the last 35 years.


  44. Heinhold first and last chance saloon. On the Oakland waterfront. Oakland, a motherfucking tough town. A place of spectacular bay views. The Chabot observatory. Lanesplitter Pizza. Home to Sonny Barger and the Oakland Hell’s Angels. The Black Panthers. East Bay Rats fight nights. The Riders. (Corrupt cops who jacked everyone in West Oakland) LSD by Tim Leary who died after immigrating to AUSTRALIA. A felon, but a rich felon, who didn’t ship in from Indonesia. I bought my first legal gun in Oakland. Smith & Wesson blues. Guess i remembered it from a Radio Birdman song . In the pawn shop i sang the song in my head as i ponied up the 80 dollars and faked the forms. (Had too surrender it in 2009. Too long a story.) Jack London wrote “Call of the wild” in Heinholds. They have a small brass plaque where he would make sense of his Yukon scribble. In 1906 the great San Francisco earthquake smacked the shit out of Heinhold’s. The clay under the foundation collapsed. The bar settled at about twenty degrees. They were sliding whisky downhill too dazed earthquake survivors. It prospers and slings drinks to this day. I had the grand good fortune too follow in JackLondon’s footsteps. I played with Dennis Willmeroth on Tuesdays. We wrote songs, spun yarns and drank too much. It was the call of the wild.

  45. Barry Nicholls says

    John regardless of the history you provide it looks like an advert. If a paper did the same what would you think?
    Good luck with your labour intensive exercise. I know all about such work having written five books in six years in similar journeyman fashion.

  46. Favorite pubs for me are you with and the atmosphere 1 Queens Head the spiritual home of HYB
    2 General Havelock Hotel 3 Naughtons Hotel in Melbourne ( when it was still technically 10 o clock closing and it took the proprietor a while to work out that we had wound the clock back and then Grenville Dietrich kicked 2 goals in 3 minutes in a state game and we skulled beers let’s say I was better at adding up than him and we were well up re that particulat exercise and I like the All Nations in Richmond as well

  47. I haven’t been in my favourite pub yet, that’s why I like going to them. But the All Nations is right up there.

    Barry Nicholls – I assume we could find your efforts under the Travel section in all good school fete book stores?

  48. Earl O'Neill says

    I’ve drank in every Sydney pub mentioned here. Not that great an accomplishment but it does point to a certain geography among Almanackers.

  49. Peter Flynn says

    This is a fun and informative thread.

  50. Ed Carmine says

    In no particular order.

    The London Tavern – Richmond
    The Retreat – Abbotsford
    The All Nations – Richmond
    The Standard – Fitzroy
    The Windsor Castle – Windsor – Any establishment with Pink Elephants on the roof and an array of taxidermy creatures deserves a place on my list.

    Honourable mentions to the Carringbush, the Napier and the Great Northern.

  51. Barry,

    For the sake of your health I suggest you don’t scroll to read Charlie Wells’ comment. His mention of Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon may send you apoplectic. You’ll be accusing Jack London of product placement and other atrocities for alluding to the famous Oakland pub in his novels Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. The cad.


  52. good one John.

  53. Me livers making some groaning noises remembering all the rubbedy dubs. So many pubs, so little time.
    “A nice day to go to the pub.” Enjoy.

  54. I’m now thinking internationally.

    Many pubs in Dublin and the Irish countryside.

    One I thought I’d never leave, so perfect was it: The Punchbowl Inn in north Yorkshire. Middle of nowhere from memory. We stumbled across it after the 1993 Headingley Test had finished.

    Just superb atmosphere. Classic views.

  55. Any pub in Dingle (Ireland). They are all magnificent. But if I have to name one it would be O’Flaherty’s (I assume its still open?).

    Not sure if its still possible but back in the 80’s you could grab a pint of Guiness whilst purchasing a can of baked beans at the local general store. What a town!

  56. Ed Carmine the Standard has one of the best beer gardens around, I remember drinking there circa 83, 84, a sit had an 111pm licence. One of the first to do os.

    I went to the Junction in Preston on Saturday. Post wedding, prior to reception, had to drink some where. It was OK, a decent sort of Pub TAB. However the price of sttubby of cider, $7-70, WTF !?!


  57. After a great evening in a north Yorkshire pub in 2004 I wrote the following-

    The hamlet of Litton in North Yorkshire sleeps in an autumnal hollow. It is hushed apart from a sporadic dog bark. Their branches blazing burgundy; trees watch its placid streets, leaves like a Hawaiian lava flow. We swim through the footpaths, our shoes drowning in swirling colour. The village green is pocket-sized and wooden stocks speak of an unruly past… A boisterous tractor roars past unexpectedly and lurches to a halt. Bounding down from his cabin, a green-capped farmer nods at us and ambles into his lunchtime pub.

    Friday evening in Litton’s Red Lion was the finest pub experience we’ve had in either hemisphere. Tilly the Airedale transversed the antique entrance, a jovial fire bellowed and homely chairs creaked with rustic tales and belly laughter. We’d been in the bedroom-sized bar but a minute when Harold pumped my paw, thrust a Black Sheep pint at me and opened a yarn about his 1992 Australian holiday; notably punctuated by wearing his pristine Crows tie during a roasting Christmas at Christies Beach.

    The grimacing Terry doles out the falling-down water in this family-run pub whilst matriarch Joyce steers her kitchen and insists on autographing her little home-made booklets of home-spun poetry. The titles are flawlessly kitsch: Re-Joyce, Jump for Joyce and the forthcoming Orange Joyce. We bought copies for Kerry’s grandma in Gympie.

    Retreating bar-side after some tremendous lamb shanks I’m button-holed by Joyce’s husband, thirty years my senior but insisting, Yorkshire style, on calling me Sir. He asks of Adelaide and cricket and St Albans as if these are the most vital things in his world. Meanwhile Kerry chats merrily with the rugby-loving couple from Portsmouth who is also commemorating their second anniversary. Afterwards we retreat to our cottage and its popping, cracking fire. Perfect.

  58. Love the idea that this is inappropriately an ad for a pub given we must be approaching 300 pubs endorsed in this thread. BTW, really enjoyed Story of ’78, Barry. I regularly refer to it when talking to Sturt fans about the history of their club culture. Particularly in the context of this year’s premiership.

  59. As socially instructive as ever George Orwell thought these were essential for a pub: Victorian architecture, dart games, draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, a garden, motherly barmaids and no radio.

  60. Colin Ritchie says

    Used to love going to The Prospect Hill Hotel on High St Kew in the ’70’s. Kush playing in the back lounge to wall to wall crowds, some nice jazz on other nights played by the likes of The Ted Vining Trio with usually only a handful of people in attendance, and of course, Owen Yateman’s Big Fat Brass. By buying a supper ticket it allowed you to stay after 10.00pm and sing along with Yatey. Fond memories! How I ever got home some nights still puzzles me!

  61. Stone Cold Steve Baker says

    My all-time favourite Pub has undergone something of an identity change in the last decade, and continues to cause me many existential issues. The Duke Of Wellington – when run by The Whale – was without doubt THE ultimate trough. The Premiership jumpers behind the bar, the plaque ‘commemorating’ Val Perovic’s 37-can session in 1984 and of course, mine host Brian The Whale Roberts. The beer was cold and refreshing no matter the weather outside, the front bar was always packed but service was excellent, the PubTAB was unrivalled for efficiency – even if the collects were rare, and not once did I ever see a fist cocked in anger in 20 or so years of drinking there.

    I most certainly agree with the comments above that the quality of trough correlates with the amount of fun you had there. The Duke was the best by the length of the Flemington straight but special mentions to the following (in no particular order):

    The Ramsgate Hotel in Henley Beach pre Adelaide’s involvement in the AFL – and West End on tap will do me, thanks very much.

    The Barwon Club Hotel Geelong (circa 1990-99)

    The Esplanade Hotel St Kilda

    The Tote – Collingwood

    The Arthouse/Royal Artillery (May she rest in peace)

    The Schomberg Inn – Peterborough

    The Railway Hotel South Melbourne

    The Great Britain Hotel Richmond (1991-1998)

    The Punters Club Fitzroy

    The Percy Beames Bar in the MCC

  62. My favourite drinking hole is the Anglers at Lorne.

  63. Luke Reynolds says

    Most of my pub time has been in country pubs.

    My favourites-
    The Mamre Hotel, Pirron Yallock
    The Commercial Hotel, Camperdown (sadly not much more than a pokies venue now)
    Elephant Bridge Hotel, Darlington
    The George, Ballarat (many nights spent there at Ballarat Country Week cricket)
    The Eureka Hotel, Rainbow
    The Gellibrand Hotel, Gellibrand

    In the city- have loved the North Fitzroy Arms this year
    The Pinnacle, North Fitzroy (been to a couple of great gigs there this year)
    The Corner Hotel, Richmond
    The New Sydney Hotel, Hobart

    Also, seeing as this is an advert, must mention the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in Apollo Bay and the Queenscliff Brewhouse (formerly The Esplanade Hotel).

  64. Luke i used to get spiflicated on the Pale at the New Sydney on trips back home in the late 80s. even stayed there a couple of times. great pub. or so i remember

  65. Barry McAdam says

    No mention of The Royal on Punt Rd? Always enjoy the service there when in Melbourne!

  66. Luke Reynolds says

    Peter, Cascade Pale I presume? Was my drink of choice until I started working in the craft beer industry. Still a nice drop. Love the New Sydney, the fireplace, great food and heaps of different beers on tap.

  67. Peter Warrington says

    yes, the one and only. there was one place in Hurstville that used to stock it in the early 80s recession and i would go from CES on dole day to buy 2 cans and 6 king prawns as my fortnightly indulgence. betterr than a milkshake etc

  68. Matt Quartermaine says

    Espy St Kilda in the nineties. Nowhere else comes close for me. Barrister and bikie shoulder to shoulder and not a hint of trouble, which may have also been because the pub boasted the biggest Maori bouncers in the country. I’m biased because we started comedy in the Gershwin Room (where Rockwiz is filmed) so I had an office upstairs and a key to the front door. Cheers

  69. Gee Whizz,none of my postings from 2016 hold up. The trendies/gentrification have/has taken over !

    Maryanne and i tend to drink now at bowling clubs, RSL’s, showing our age. 5 current pubs ? Let’s give this a burl.


    The Cally Warrnambool.

    The Cally Robe.

    Lomond,E Brunswick.

    Pinsents, Wangaratta.

    Not much left in old Melbourne town. There’s a few i ‘ll still pop into now and then, with the Lomond probably being the best of them.


  70. A few years in and I stand by my selections, although having enjoyed a number of Almanac lunches at the NFA including one that went until 10pm, I would find a spot for it on the honorable mentions list.

    Enjoyed this thread again, and it’s inspired me to slip by my local at 4.33pm.

  71. Payneham Sports Club particularly the underground dungeon bar and the old,Chappell bar at Ad oval aka the magic cave.The Welly and Kings head agree totally now days tho where ever l am let in to sell raffle tickets

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