Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

Where Are The Best Traditional Pubs in Canberra?

Home > Canberra > Bars | Craft Beer | Family | Music | Pubs | Questions
Your Answer
share your local knowledge
Writer's Answer:
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun! Find me on instagram: @australianrecipesbythebay
Published August 1st 2017
Do you like going to a good ol' Aussie pub, where the beer is cold, the bartenders are friendly and yes - the carpet may be beer-stained and the furniture has seen better days - but it's comfortable? Do you want to go somewhere where you can meet up with friends, play a game of pool, maybe stay for dinner and then have the best night of your life rocking out to the best cover band you have ever seen? Here in Canberra, there is a wide array of gastropubs, Clubs and trendy bars to choose from - but if you are looking for a traditional pub to just simply relax, then you're in luck. Canberra has them all over the city. These are my personal pub favourites around the region - where are yours? Feel free to leave a comment on the top of this article if your favourite traditional pub isn't mentioned here. You can never have too many options - or too many Parmas!

chicken parma, parmigana, the civic pub, canberra, lonsdale street, ACT, pubs, pub grub, best parma
Parma's and pool at the Civic Pub. Image: Original photos from the Civic Pub Facebook

chicken parma, parmigana, the civic pub, canberra, lonsdale street, ACT, pubs, pub grub, best parma
Front entrance of The Civic Pub, Braddon


The Civic Pub is located in Lonsdale Street in Braddon, just a few minutes walk from the CBD. This traditional pub has outdoor tables out the front, as well as seating areas inside with chesterfield couches, open fires and cosy nooks to watch the live sport. Food options on the menu include ribs, steaks, parmas, burgers, pasta - and there is also a specials board to choose from. If you enjoy playing pool, plan on staying for awhile and rack up a few games with the locals. See here for details.

* Best For - Games of pool and live sports.

King O'Malley's
is an authentic Irish pub located in City Walk, in the heart of the city. When you first walk in, the dark and cosy interior makes you feel like you've entered an old Irish castle. The menu includes pizza, burgers, parmas, steak, pork belly and bangers and mash - with most menu items over $20. This venue has live music each weekend, with local musicians and bands belting out the tunes. Dress in green on St Patricks Day and spend the night Irish dancing and enjoying a Guiness! See here for details.

* Best for - Live music and atmosphere.

king o malleys, pub, irish pub, ACT, best pub grub, traditional pubs, irish, canberra
The cosy (and castle-like!) interior of King O'Malley's

king o malleys, pub, irish pub, ACT, best pub grub, traditional pubs, irish, canberra
...which fills up each weekend for live music. Image: Hard Cover on stage - King O' Malley's Facebook


George Harcourt Inn is an English pub located at Gold Creek Village in Nicholls. This family-friendly pub has an extensive beer garden, as well as an inside dining area with English décor and a traditional fireplace. Look up and see beer steins and potties hanging off the ceiling! Enjoy traditional bangers and mash, Guinness pot pie, steaks and burgers from the menu. George Harcourt Inn is particularly popular in summer, with live music in the beer garden and plenty of space for the kids to play. See here for details and meal deals (eg. Tight Ass Tuesdays!)

* Best for - Quiet Sunday afternoon drinks in the beer garden.

Old Canberra Inn is a personal favourite in Lyneham, with a real "pub" feel to it. The building itself is historically significant, as it is the literally the first pub in Canberra - before Canberra was even an idea. It was built in 1857 and was positioned at a coach stop along the regions first mail route. It has seen a few owners over the years, been renovated in some parts, but still keeps its rustic, historical atmosphere. The menu for the Old Canberra Inn has all the pub grub favourites with a modern twist. See here for details.

* Best for - After work drinks by the fire in winter.

george harcourt inn, canberra, ACT, pubs, english pubs, best pubs in canberra, live music, beer garden,
Have a pint at the George Harcourt Inn

old canberra inn, ACT, canberra, pubs, lyneham, traditional pubs, beers, counter lunch, bars, live music, pub grub,
Visit the Old Canberra Inn for local history and tasty pub grub

Lighthouse Pub
is another popular pub to add to this list, this time overlooking Lake Ginninderra in Belconnen. This modern pub (with new owners at the time of writing), has a wide range of beers on tap, water views and a relaxing beer garden under umbrella's. This pub attracts hundreds of party-goers on Saturday nights, as well as having trivia nights and live sport during the week. Sunday afternoons have chilled-out live music by the water. Menu items includes all the usual pub grub fare. See here for details.

* Best for - Sunday afternoon drinks and live music in Summer.

lighthouse pub, belconnen, canberra, ACT, lunch, dinner, live sport, bars, traditional pubs, pub grub, steaks, pizza, family friendly
Lighthouse Pub beer garden, lunch specials and kids meals

lighthouse pub, belconnen, canberra, ACT, lunch, dinner, live sport, bars, traditional pubs, pub grub, steaks, pizza, family friendly
Live sport at the Lighty! Image: Lighthouse Pub Facebook


The Durham Castle Arms in Kingston has "traditional English pub" written all over it. This cosy corner pub at the Kingston shops has all the features of a UK pub, with English drawings on the walls, stacked stone bar, dark wooden furniture and English favourites on the dinner menu. Also check out the $10 lunch deals - perfect with a cold local beer. The Durham is also popular on weekends with live music until late. See here for details and weeknight meal deals. Also check out their Facebook for their latest beers on tap and events.

* Best for - Delicious pub grub and local beers on tap

The Kingston Hotel is also located nearby, just a few minutes drive from the Durham Castle Arms (above). It was one of the first pubs to open after the ACT alcohol prohibition, so it became a well-known fixture in the Canberra region. "The Kingo", as it is known, has a beer garden, sports bar, pool tables, a well-priced Steakhouse restaurant (popular with families) as well as Maddies Bistro, for a sit-down meal. See here for details.

* Best for - Games of pool, steaks and summer drinks in the beer garden

durham castle arms, canberra, ACT, pubs, pub grub, ACT, beers, english pubs
Authentic English atmpshere at the Durham Castle Arms

kingston hotel, the kingo, pub food, pubs in canberra, dinner, pool tables, ACT, kingston
Stay for dinner and pool at The Kingo

Rose Cottage at Gilmore is an interesting place to visit if you like your pubs a little rustic, with plenty of history and character. Customers order their drinks and meals from two historical buildings from the late 1800's, complete with fireplace and low doorways to duck under. Rose Cottage has a range of meal deals during the week and the usual pub grub from their main menu, with pizza's, burgers and steak. See here for details. Also see the Rose Cottage Facebook for latest meal deals and live music line-up each weekend.

* Best for - Live music and summer nights in the beer garden.

rose cottage, canberra, ACT, pubs, pub grub, best, old pubs, historical buildings, pizza, beer, canberra,
Pizzas, history and cold beers on tap at Rose Cottage

Have you found a pub that's just right for you? Why not visit one and enjoy a Parma and a game of pool this weekend?
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  34
Share: email  facebook  twitter
As an English person, The Durham Castle Arms feels basically like an English theme bar - nothing about it is “authentic British”. They don’t even pretend to serve ales or good ciders. The food is trying to be fancier than the pub deserves, but failing... If you’re homesick for a proper pub, this place will make it worse rather than help
by roseo (score: 0|5) 1079 days ago
Mooseheads in Civic is a good pub, selling the coldest pints in Canberra.
by peter (score: 0|4) 1729 days ago

More Canberra articles
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles