Classic pubs throughout Brisbane - Visit Brisbane

Classic pubs throughout Brisbane

Pub grub and free-flowing beer can be found anywhere around Brisbane, but it’s a classic pub that gives you the real experience. Immerse yourself in a sporting match atmosphere, chow down a parmy and sip on a legendary Milton mango at one of Brisbane’s classic pubs.  

To go one better, we've pulled these excellent watering holes into three maps so you can spend the afternoon and evening hopping between them.

Brisbane City classic pubs trail

Classic pub trail

Port Office Hotel

Originally built as the Shamrock Hotel in 1864, this inner-city spot of history has survived floods and undergone renovations to bring you an upmarket pub experience. You’ll now find blokes and gentlemen alike queuing for barbecue pork ribs and an after-work tipple. 

The Victory Hotel

Known for loud karaoke and a relaxed open-air beer garden, this bustling CBD pub was built in 1885. Quench your thirst in the cocktail lounge or head upstairs for some dance floor action.

Stock Exchange Hotel 

The Stock Exchange Rooftop

This classic inner-city hotspot, established in 1863, recently underwent renovations and now offers a fantastic rooftop beer garden. Tucked beneath the shiny high-rises, this pub has the perfect atmosphere for post-work drinks. 

Grand Central Hotel

The Grand Central has, in one way or another, been around the Brisbane scene since 1901. Not that you’d really be able to tell given a recent renovation, but the new train-themed digs will remind you of the Hotel’s history. Grab a pint, or indulge at the cocktail bar above the platform, and luxuriate in the site of the Brisbane Beer Riots. Ancient history, right?

Embassy Bar

Embassy Bar

Reconnect with the Roaring Twenties at the Embassy, where tradition and the old architecture have been embraced. Bare walls, wooden tables and chairs and overhead lighting work with the exposed brickwork to paint the picture of a pub that knows who it is. Like you will, when you bring your mates to the Embassy to speak easy and free.

Irish Murphy’s

In its first life, this building housed the Treasury Hotel back when there were nine other hotels operating along George Street. Now, it’s just Irish Murphys and the Transcontinental. The former name is still born across the balustrade and its claim to fame is the best craic in town. Between us, it’s pretty good. Live music, good drinks and a balcony overlooking the CBD – a good way to spend an evening. 

Bonus classic pubs near the city

The Alliance Hotel

The Alliance Hotel

This Spring Hill watering hole is beloved by locals and regular visitors for the original decor and pub atmosphere. Visit the award-winning bistro for seasonal gastronomic pub food accompanied with a range of boutique beers, fine wines and spirits. 

Transcontinental Hotel

The iconic Brisbane pub underwent a contemporary redesign to emphasise the building’s heritage and bring warmth and life back into the venue. Grab a few mates and head down for a pint as "The Trans" is still the perfect place to catch an evening sports game. 

Hotel LA

No, LA does not stand for Los Angeles but instead for Lord Alfred to mark his royal visit to Brisbane in 1868 - nobody knew that right? With multiple bars spread over two levels and an in-house grill, Hotel LA is your next destination for a classic parmy and brew. 

The Caxton Hotel 

The Caxton Hotel

Dating back to 1884, The Caxton Hotel is one of Brisbane’s oldest licensed premises. Located a short stroll from Suncorp Stadium, head to this old-fashioned watering hole for a post-game beer and the lively pub atmosphere. 

The Normanby 

Set around a giant fig tree, The Normanby is practically a landmark for locals. This busy pub was built in 1889 and was one of Brisbane’s first commercial buildings to adopt the Queen Anne style, including the red brick finish, bay windows and decorative timber detailing. 

Fortitude Valley classic pub trail

Classic pub trail

The Royal Exchange Hotel

Known to locals as "The R.E.", this pub is Queensland's favourite student destination. Renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, cold beer and massive beer garden; the R.E. has been a Brisbane institution since 1876.

Waterloo Hotel

When the first incarnation of the Waterloo was built in 1880, it was one of 117 pub serving a population of 47, 000. And only the men could drink! Good thing we’ve come just as far as the Waterloo has, with the current version of the Hotel having restored the majestic façade and reintroduced the luxurious interior. Now open to all, the way it should be, on the corner of Ann and Commercial Street.

Empire Hotel

Empire Hotel

Designed by prominent Brisbane architect Richard Gailey in the late 1880s, the building continues to show off original charm, lively atmosphere and genuine hospitality. A rotisserie chicken and craft beer doesn’t go astray among the many who visit.  

The Jubilee Hotel

The pub's look may have changed since 1887, but old-school charm and classic pub food is still very much alive within the venue. Get lost in the beer garden or hit up the inside bar for a pint and a round of pokies.

The Royal George

Royal George

Originally built in the 1850s, the Royal George then looked almost completely different. One of the first pubs in Fortitude Valley, it’s seen the rise and rise (please, we’ve never fallen) of Brisbane as a place to live, work and play. The core of the building is still the 19th century original but several redevelopments over its 160 operating years have turned it into the cheeky façade you’ll be watering yourself at in no time.

Brunswick Hotel

Just a stroll from the heart of the Valley, this classic old pub was built in 1889 and has recently undergone a significant refurbishment. While still retaining its historic charm, the pub now offers a casual beer garden, bistro and lounge for those wanting wine and cocktails.

Osbourne Hotel

Formerly home to the Fringe Bar and Kerbside (but only recently), the Osbourne Hotel has returned to its namesake with a makeover and an embrace of tradition. 153 years gives any place a storied history but we bet most places haven’t seen a man shot dead in the bar. Luckily, that won’t be a problem at this new (old) Valley establishment on the corner of Ann and Constance Streets.

Bonus classic pubs in the Valley area

Breakfast Creek Hotel 

Breakfast Creek Hotel

Built in the French Renaissance style in 1889, the Breakfast Creek Hotel is famous for its premium-quality steaks and “beer off the wood”, or beer from traditional wooden kegs. Go for dinner and settle in for a long night in the tropical beer garden. 

Queen’s Arms

A New Farm institution, the Queen’s Arms Hotel has a 130 year history of watering the locals. It still celebrates some old world charm despite a recent facelift as part of an obviously necessary modernization. The world’s moved on from the 19th century and so must the hotels. The true heritage are the drinks behind the bar though.

Southside classic pub trail

Classic pub trail

The Norman Hotel

Look for the towering XXXX sign and you’ll find The Norman, Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant. This heritage-listed Queensland pub was built in 1889 and has been through a number of incarnations, including working class pub and biker bar.

The Plough Inn 

1864 seems to be the year of pubs as The Plough Inn was also established on the opposite side of the river. Don’t let the modern deck put you off, there is plenty of historical elegance found within these walls, along with traditional hearty meals served Aussie pub style.   

Ship Inn

Once a rowdy sailor’s den – hence the name – the Ship Inn was built in 1864 and has developed a reputation as a lamb lover’s paradise. Originally a private residence before the sailors took over, it was purchased and repurposed for Expo ’88. The extensions and renovations have held up until today and now it overlooks the Maritime Museum. Perfect for the start of a South Bank pub crawl.

The Boundary Hotel

Boundary Hotel

Quenching the thirst of West End locals since 1864, you don’t have to go far to watch a sports game in true Aussie pub style or play a round of pool with a few mates – the pub grub isn’t bad either.

Bonus classic pubs on the southside

The Story Bridge Hotel 

The Story Bridge Hotel

Built around the pylons of Brisbane’s Story Bridge, this three-level pub’s rich history dates back to 1886. Originally named the Kangaroo Point Hotel, the pub was renamed in 1940 to coincide with the opening of the Story Bridge which towers above. 

Regatta Hotel

The Regatta Hotel

Grand Lady of the Brisbane River, the beautiful Regatta Hotel was built in 1874 and has withstood more than a century of flood, fire and change. Try a dry-aged steak at the Boatshed or have a beer on the iron-laced verandahs.

Morrison Hotel

A baby in comparison to Brisbane’s other classic pubs, the Morrison has ‘only’ been trading since 1927. It originally opened its doors across the road as Hotel Britannia before it burned down. Was a bummer then but, now, it’s right at home in South Brisbane. Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant, the Morrison hosts one of the city’s best steakhouses and also offer one of the city’s most comprehensive choices of whisky in the Naked Whisky Bar.

Pineapple Hotel

Pineapple Hotel

Originally opened in 1864, then rebuilt in 1886-1887, the Pineapple Hotel is a Southside staple. Extra additions and renovations took place in ‘20s and, according to Council, the Hotel reflects the confidence of the economic boom in Brisbane. Now, the Piney remains an institution and continues the grand tradition of beers, food and sport.  

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