When our family first moved to Canberra, we noticed there weren't as many pubs in local areas, as we have seen in other cities. This wasn't a bad thing, in fact we quite liked it. After living here awhile we realised that Clubs then became the family friendly places to go for play areas, decent sized meals and cold beers. Canberran families are fortunate that almost every Club is geared towards kids with great kids meals and often a small play area to enjoy after you eat.
However when we have friends who come to visit from other states, without children and who love a good pub lunch, we made it our mission to track down pubs which are great for visitors, as well as fun for kids too. In our quest, we found these gems that quickly became our favourites. Which ones have you discovered?
1/ GEORGE HARCOURT INN - Gold Creek Village, 20 minutes north of CBD
This is the most family friendly pub in Canberra, where families can relax and everyone can soak up the sun and English pub ambience. Inside there are plenty of tables and a fireplace crackling on chilly days, as well as a large outdoor beer garden that wraps around the pub. This beer garden is the highlight of this pub, with plenty of space to spread out, some grassy hills for the kids to play on and live music on weekends. After your time at the pub, take a walk across the road to the National Dinosaur Museum and the kids can run around the statues at the front, for free. See website here for all the details. See here for their extensive Winter 2016 Kids Menu, with all kids meals $9.50. Address: 3 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls. Tel: (02) 6230 2484
2/ OLD CANBERRA INN - Lyneham, 15 minutes north of CBD Our family love going to this pub with friends and visitors, especially if they have an interest in history. Duck your head to walk in the door and look at the old photos from years gone by. The owners of this historical pub welcome kids, have a decent kids menu and also have a play area out the back with chalk board and toys to play with. There are many outdoor areas to sit outside at this family friendly pub, as well as arcade games in the function room (when not booked out). There is often live music, cute dogs sitting by peoples feet and families having get togethers. See website here for all the details. See here for the Kids Menu, with all meals $10 including ice cream for dessert. Address: 195 Mouat St, Lyneham. Tel: (02) 6134 6000
3/ THE MEATING ROOM - Weston Creek, 10 minutes south of CBD This modern pub is an ideal place to take the kids as it has its own kids room with computer games, chalk board and toys to play with - all within sight of Mum and Dad. It has delicious pub food and a large indoor area, which is cool in summer and warm in winter. The Meating Room is a relaxing, family friendly pub for all ages. Chill out with live music and catch up with friends before finishing off with dessert or one of their delicious pastries or cronuts. Although there is no area for the kids to run around, this pub is a handy one to visit on rainy days. See website here for all the details. See here for Kids Menu, with all items between $10 - $14. Address: 45 Liardet St, Weston Creek. Tel: (02) 6288 6328
Large interior of The Meating Room. Source: Meating Room Facebook
4/ KINGSTON HOTEL - Griffith, 5 minutes south of the CBD This historic hotel has a relaxed atmosphere and welcomes families to have lunch or dinner at both their Maddies restaurant and Steakhouse. Kids enjoy the Steakhouse in particular, with "Cooking your own BBQ" options inside and a good range on the menu. The Kingston Hotel prides itself as a family friendly pub and encourages families to come along and enjoy the community spirit, history and character. If you have visitors that particularly like to play pool, there are two rooms of tables past the Sports Bar. There is no designated kids play area. See website here for all the details. See here for Maddies Kids Menu with all items $9.90 and here for the Steakhouse Menu, with $9.90 Kids Burgers and BBQ options. Address: 73 Canberra Ave, Griffith. Tel: (02) 6295 0123.
5/ ROSE COTTAGE INN - Gilmore, 20 minutes south of CBD This historical pub is as rustic as they come with a large outdoor area, pallet seating, fire pits to warm up by in winter and plenty of grass to run around outside. Although cosy by the fire in winter, our family prefer to visit this pub in the Summer months, with plenty of shade and lighter evenings. On first impressions it can appear rundown due to its heritage listed buildings and rustic feel, however give it a try and see if it suits you. The kids usually love exploring all the different areas - as well as the pizzas!
This property is up for sale at the time of writing, however Rose Cottage Inn has a lease, so the pub will remain for years to come (see more information here). See here for Menu's, with $10 kids meals on the weekends (however the pizzas are the most popular). Address: Cnr Isabella Drive & Monaro Hwy, Gilmore. Tel: (02) 6260 1314.
If you are after some more ideas, why not try north side local favourites Debacle in Braddon for pizzas and family breakfasts, Wilbur's Café Bar in Hackett with a great Kids Menu and colouring in pencils, Frankies at Forde for a kid friendly local pub, Edgars Inn in Ainslie with outdoor seating area (although no Kids Menu) and the Duxton in O'Connor for burgers and pizza's.
Although at first glance Canberra doesn't seem to have many traditional pubs, it just takes a little digging to find the gems located around the suburbs. Now that we have discovered them, we are spoilt for choice next time we are wanting to go out for some pub grub with friends. If you know of any more local secrets (that you are willing to share!), please add a comment to this article - the more the merrier.