Pubs in NSW

Is there anything more Aussie than a character-filled pub, a cold one and a bit of banter with locals?  Read on for our pick of places to pull up a barstool.   

South Coast pubs 

If you want views for days while enjoying an alfresco pub experience, look no further than the 1886-built Scarborough Hotel, just south of the Sea Cliff Bridge and the Royal National Park. Grab an outdoor table and enjoy unbroken vistas over the Pacific Ocean. You’re closer to the water when you arrive at the Headlands Hotel in Austinmer on the South Coast – check in to one of the rooms if you can’t bear to leave.   

Views of the The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

Views of the The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

Much further south is the Tathra Hotel, an atmospheric heritage-listed weatherboard pub in Tathra, replete with a craft brewery, live music and plenty of oysters on the menu. Because those harvested here are among the best in the world. Then settle in for a few cold ones at the Great Southern Inn in Eden overlooking Two Fold Bay, where whales feed and frolic. And you can refuel on burgers, fish-n-chips and schnittys – there’s also a dedicated kids’ menu. 

North Coast pubs 

Tackling the North Coast’s epic surf breaks is thirsty work. It’s a good thing that there are plenty of pubs to linger in once you pull off your wetsuit. Overlooking Newcastle‘s Mereweather Beach you’ll find the 1940s Beach Hotel, which specialises in wood-fired pizza and warm hospitality. And the Seabreeze Beach Hotel in South West Rocks, north of Port Macquarie. The views over Horseshoe Bay are as cool as the beer. 

Speaking of beer, it’s in abundance at Australia’s most easterly pub, the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay, where you’re sitting just metres from the sand. Look forward to live music and an equally lively atmosphere. And then there’s the 1934 Pacific Hotel in Yamba, an old charmer with stellar views to match the upscale pub fare – plus rooms should you wish to linger. 

Sunrise at Yamba Beach looking towards The Pacific Hotel, Yamba

Sunrise at Yamba Beach looking towards The Pacific Hotel, Yamba

Historic pubs 

Sitting down to enjoy banter with mates over a beer is not a new concept – Aussies have been doing just that for centuries. If only the walls could talk at the Surveyor General Inn in Berrima, one of Australia’s oldest licensed pubs, built by convicts in 1834 from local Southern Highlands sandstone. The Sir George in the tiny, riverside village of Jugiong in the Hillsides Region dates back to 1852, and has been transformed into a dynamic gastro pub with rooms. 

The Surveyor General Inn Established in 1834, Berrima, Capital Country

The Surveyor General Inn established in 1834, Berrima

Outback NSW in the northwest of the state is where you’ll find The Family Hotel in Tibooburra, built in 1881 and once part of the Cobb and Co. network. The original Maidens Hotel in Menindee opened in 1853 and was visited by ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills on their way north in 1860. Although much of the pub was gutted by fire in 1999, the heritage façade and original accommodation remains. 

Country pubs 

For paddock-to-plate dining, try the Willow Tree Inn southwest of Tamworth, Australia’s home of country music. Here, restaurant Graze sources meats and veggies from its own farm, so there’s no doubt where your food is coming from. In the New England high country is the Commercial Boutique Hotel, an art deco beauty rebuilt in the 1940s in the historic town of Tenterfield. Have lunch beside the mighty Murray at the Gol Gol Hotel or on the banks of the Tweed River at the Tumbulgum Tavern. 

Exterior view of the Willow Tree Inn, Willow Tree,  New England

Willow Tree Inn, Willow Tree

In the Southern Highlands, the Burrawang Village Hotel has an enchanting beer garden while the historic Robertson Public House has undergone a revamp with a menu that focuses on local producers. Take time out from a wine tour in the Hunter Valley to visit the Royal Oak Hotel in Cessnock

Famous pubs 

With its wide open spaces, vivid colours and local character, Outback NSW has been the natural film set for all manner of movies. Many of them revolve around the legendary Silverton Hotel, which has featured in a range of films including The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Razorback, Mad Max II, and Mission Impossible II.  

A Volkswagon beetle pays homage to the Mad Max V8 interceptor outside the Silverton Hotel, Silverton

Silverton Hotel, Silverton

Directors of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert had a penchant for pubs, it seems – they also shot at the Palace Hotel in Broken Hill, where you can catch a drag show and spend the night in The Priscilla Suite. 

The legendary Pub With No Beer does, in fact, have a lot of beer on the menu, whether on tap, in cans or by the bottle. The establishment, just south of Coffs Harbour, was named after Aussie singer Slim Dusty’s applauded song by the same name. There’s plenty of Slim memorabilia to check out, if you’re a fan. Meanwhile, the Dromedary Hotel in Central Tilba is said to be built from wood recycled from the ships that docked in Bermagui

Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba and Gulaga

Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba and Gulaga - Credit: Jonathon Poyner

Make your way through the beautiful countryside to the legendary Pub With No Beer, around 30km inland from Macksville. And don’t worry, the pub – which is full of Slim Dusty memorabilia – does have beer, 16 on tap and many more by the bottle. The Dromedary Hotel in Central Tilba is said to be built from wood recycled from the ships that docked in Bermagui.