The 10 best breweries, distilleries & pubs in Orange
Orange is rightly famous for its hatted restaurants and chic wine bars. But the region is also booming when it comes to innovative distilleries, breweries and good old country pubs.
Orange’s original craft brewery, Badlands has been producing its ‘dangerously drinkable’ small- batch beers since 2010. You can visit the brewery’s Taproom for a cold one (there are 14 beers on tap) or a tasting paddle, paired with food supplied by local restaurants, including food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays. Nearby at The Agrestic Grocer, you can also sample six Badlands beers on tap. The team are also regulars at the Orange Farmers Market on the second Saturday of the month.
This outlet of the 4 Pines Brewing Co empire, known as Gracie’s, draws crowds with its eight taps pulling 4 Pines beers, including a Hazy Pale Ale, Nitro stout and Kolsch Style Ale. Once your glass is full, head out to the garden with a group of friends to order from the burger-driven menu, including a number of plant-based options for vegetarians. Kids are welcome, and well catered to.
Surrounded by some of the region’s best vineyards, Small Acres is a little pocket of traditional British cider making in the foothills of Mount Canobolas. They make authentic apple and pear cider (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) from locally grown fruit and have won more than 150 awards since opening in 2007. The pretty cellar door is open for tastings on weekends (book ahead, as the space is small), and there’s a range of local produce available to make up the perfect picnic.
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, Orange also has a number of boutique distilleries. It’s all about gin at Parrot Distilling Co, where they produce classic dry gin, unique blends (like The OG infused with lemongrass and chilli), and limited editions inspired by Christmas, spiced rum or bush botanicals. The bar and tasting room – aptly named The Aviary – has the full range on hand for a classic G&T, a guided gin journey or to pick up a few bottles to take home.
This family-run affair started out making gin, creating classic gin, sloe gin and cherry gin flavoured with the region’s famous fruit; the team then released their first batch of single-malt whisky in 2022, and now has an extensive range of both spirits. Visit the cellar door and bar inside the Lucknow Hotel in the tiny town of Lucknow, just 10km from Orange. The space comes with a patio (perfect for summer) and a fire, which lights up in cooler months.
One of the most famous hotels in the Central West, this is a huge two-storey art deco building that sprawls across almost half a city block. It first opened in the late 1800s, though the current building dates from 1939 and the inside is bright and modern. The bistro specialises in woodfired pizzas alongside pub favourites like chicken schnitzel and burgers. And if you do overindulge, there are 45 modern rooms to check in to.
There’s a big focus on craft beer at The Lord Anson, with local breweries like Badlands and Pioneer on tap along with indie labels from around Australia. If you’re visiting on a Thursday night, follow the lead of locals and sign up to play trivia. Order a burger or fish and chips, then get set to make a few new friends.
This grand dame dates back to 1886. The exteriors remain largely unchanged, and inside you’ll receive the same warm country welcome that’s been drawing drinkers for almost 150 years. Head upstairs to the family friendly, all-seasons Verandah Bistro, for views over Orange’s historic Town Hall and Holy Trinity Church, as well as an extensive range of schnitzels, burgers, pizzas and pastas.
It’s just 20km from the heart of Orange to the tiny town of Millthorpe, where The Millthorpe Hotel is next to the railway station and served its first beer in 1898. It has a cosy front bar, stylish restaurant and large grassy beer garden. There’s a good range of beers as well as local wines available by the glass, and an extensive menu of pizzas, pastas and pub classics, including a selection just for kids.
Only 200 people live in the tiny 19th-century village of Carcoar, but they still get their own pub. Take a seat under the shady verandah and you’ll likely meet half the village sharing a drink and a burger – there are close to a dozen to choose from, alongside everything that you’d expect to see on a pub menu. There are also neat rooms, if you can’t bear to leave.