It would be un-Australian to not bend your elbow at one of these iconic Aussie pubs if you are passing through.
1. The Prairie Hotel, SA
Voted Australia’s Number 1 Outback Hotel by Australian Geographic magazine in 2016, the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna draws thousands of visitors each year for its stunning Flinders Ranges location, artisan accommodations and highly unusual menu.
While the gourmet bush foods change seasonally, the signature dish, available year-round, is the FMG – feral mixed grill – and basically means if you can kill it, they’ll grill it. Kangaroo, wallaby, emu, goat, camel, rabbit … are expertly complemented by locally sourced native ingredients such as quandongs, native limes and bush tomatoes.
For a truly unique Australian pub food experience, what could be more adventurous?
2. The Ettamogah Pub, NSW
When Australian cartoonist Ken Maynard scratched out his first doodles of the Ettamogah Pub in the late ’50s – an oddly top-heavy construction full of chain-smoking dogs and rural ruffians with a flat-bed truck parked precariously on the roof – he could not have imagined that half a century later four such pubs would exist in the real world.
A brick and mortar tribute to his comic strip that ran in the weekly Australasian Post from 1958 until its final issue in 2002, the first Ettamogah Pub opened in 1987 in Albury, NSW, where Maynard was born.
This award-winning family-friendly hotel has since been renovated to add a sports bar, cocktail lounge and other distractions such as a jumping castle and rock-climbing wall for the kids.
3. The Cherry Bar, VIC
Any ‘favourite gig joint’ straw poll of local or international rock acts will likely include this hardcore underground bar, the only business located along the aptly named ACDC Lane in Melbourne’s CBD.
The tiny 200-capacity live music venue is a standard fixture for touring legends, who like to pop in for a drink or play a set in between huge theatre or arena shows.
Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose loved the place so much, he once whiled away six hours there; Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher famously tried to buy it during a 2002 tour down under; and when Lady Gaga wanted to host her 4th of July party there in 2012 she was turned away because The Cherry refused to bump an existing booking for local band Jackson Firebird.
Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll.
4. The Daly Waters Pub, NT
Looking for an Aussie outback pub dripping with character?
The Daly Waters Pub, around 600km south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs, claims to have “witnessed murders, shoot-outs in the main street, cattle stampeding through town and the odd drunken brawls”.
It’s also haunted by the ghost of a woman named Sarah who was murdered by her husband.
Oh, and female visitors are invited to ‘leave their mark’ by removing their bra and hanging it from the ceiling, a tradition that began in the early ’80s over a lost bet and continues to this day.
Half the fun of a Daly Waters Pub stopover (besides the swimming pool and the superb ‘beef ‘n’ barra’ dining option) is to browse through the memorabilia of thousands of previous visitors.
What will you choose to leave behind?