Many Australians enjoy drinking a cold beer on a hot day, and there's really nowhere better to do it than in a beer garden.
By Ute Junker
Australians love spending time outdoors, so it's no wonder that the beer garden – an outdoor area attached to a pub, usually surrounded by greenery – has become a popular spot to socialise over a refreshing drink. These are some of our favourite venues.
Cheers! How Australia enjoys a drink
WATSONS BAY BOUTIQUE HOTEL, SYDNEY
Sydneysiders often catch the ferry from the city to this beautiful pub, which sits right by the water at Watsons Bay Wharf. Framed on one side by the ocean and by parklands on the other, the Watto – as locals know it – is one of Sydney's best spots to enjoy a drink or a meal in the sunshine. Arrive early if you want to find a table for lunch as it does get busy here, particularly in summer.
GLENMORE HOTEL, SYDNEY
Sydney's most historic suburb, The Rocks, is within walking distance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. There are plenty of pubs to choose from here, but none has as glorious a view as the one from the Glenmore Hotel’s rooftop beer garden, overlooking the harbour and the Opera House. A retractable roof means you can enjoy the outlook whatever the weather. Given its location, this is a great place to take a break while sightseeing.
THE VILLAGE, MELBOURNE
Melbourne has an impressive range of beer gardens, and one of the most popular is at The Village. This hub of five linked drinking spaces, in a beautiful heritage area, attracts Melburnians from all over the city to socialise over a drink or two. The beer garden is particularly popular during summer, and if it's chilly you can always choose one of the adjacent indoor venues.
PONYFISH ISLAND, MELBOURNE
One of Melbourne's best-kept secrets, Ponyfish Island is a floating beer garden on the Yarra River in Melbourne's city centre. It's partly hidden beneath the Yarra pedestrian footbridge connecting Southbank to Flinders Street Station. Toasted sandwiches are the snack of choice, washed down with a cold beer on a sunny day or a mulled wine when it's cooler.
BREAKFAST CREEK HOTEL, BRISBANE
One of Brisbane's most famous pubs is also home to the city's best-loved beer garden. At the historic Breakfast Creek Hotel they still do things the old-fashioned way: this is one of the few pubs where beer is served straight from wooden kegs. “The Creek”, as locals refer to it, is also famous for its huge steaks, so bring your appetite with you.
THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE
The Triffid is not your traditional pub. It is housed in a World War II aircraft hangar, and its regular live music performances and sophisticated beer garden have won it a loyal following. The best seats in the house are on a small timber deck above the beer garden, where you can watch the action from above. The Triffid’s menu stretches beyond standard dishes such as burger and nachos and includes plenty of vegetarian options.
Every neighbourhood deserves a pub like Republic, in the Adelaide suburb of Norwood. As well as having a beer garden that has been voted Australia’s best, the bar serves a wide variety of drinks, from espresso martinis to craft brews, while its enticing menu includes delights such as suckling pig. Republic is also known for its live music sessions and theme nights.
THE COTTESLOE BEACH HOTEL, PERTH
It has long been a Perth tradition to wind up a day at the beach with a cold beer at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel. Some things have changed over the years – the pub has had a stylish makeover, the beer garden is now called The Beach Club, and the menu includes healthy options such as ancient grain salads as well as the more traditional fish and chips – but there is still no better place to spend a summer evening.
BOB'S BAR, PERTH
Perched atop the lovely Print Hall, the astroturfed Bob’s Bar is one of the most inviting beer gardens in the city centre. Appropriately for a venue named after Bob Hawke – former Australian prime minister, proud West Australian and one-time holder of the world beer-drinking record – Bob's Bar has a seriously good selection of beer, with 20 different craft brews on tap.
MANGROVE HOTEL, BROOME
There's no better place to enjoy a balmy Broome evening than in the Mangrove Hotel on Roebuck Bay. Set amid tropical gardens overlooking the sea, this place is always lively. It is also the best place in town for viewing the extraordinary illusion known as Staircase to the Moon, which occurs when the full moon rises over the water.
CASCADE BREWERY, HOBART
The Cascade Brewery, just outside Hobart, is a pretty special place. Not only is it the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia, but it also has the largest beer garden in the country, overlooking three acres (1.2 hectares) of heritage gardens. No wonder it's a must for any Tasmanian itinerary.
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