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Canberra’s Best Pub Meals

By Emily Morris - 1 September 2017 19

Best pub meals Canberra

This has been updated for September 2017

Us Aussies love a good pub.

Whether you go for the classic chicken schnitzel, the steak and chips, a juicy burger, or something a bit more adventurous, there’s nothing quite like sitting down to a pub meal and an icy cold beer with friends and family.

We’ve read through your comments and critiques and put together a list of the top 4 best pub meals in Canberra. Try one, or try them all. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

What Makes a Great Pub Meal?

There are okay pub meals, and then there are excellent pub meals that keep you coming back again and again.

So, what separates the average from the incredible? Here are the five characteristics the best pubs in Canberra all share.

  • A classic menu. When we go to the pub, we want pub food. Think burgers, steaks, fish and chips, schnitzels, and chicken parmas. Top things off with a side of beer-battered chips and a fresh garden salad. Perfection.
  • A menu with more adventurous options. Alongside the classics, the best pubs offer something a little bit different.
  • Fresh ingredients. There’s nothing worse than frozen fish, week-old veggies, and mash made from powder. The best pub meals showcase fresh, local produce.
  • Price. It’s a pub, not a fine dining restaurant. Prices should be modest, and a $10 lunch deal never hurt!
  • Atmosphere. The best pubs have a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere. You should be comfortable and relaxed, not awkward and out-of-place.

The 4 Best Pub Meals in Canberra According to You

So, what are the best pubs in Canberra?

According to our commenters, the following four pubs tick all the boxes, serving up great meals time and time again.

Remember, if your favourite pub isn’t on our list, leave it in the comments below. We want to know your go-to Canberra pub.

Walsh’s Hotel in Queanbeyan

Great food, entertainment, and a family-friendly vibe? Sounds perfect. Walsh’s Hotel is an iconic pub in the Canberra region offering classic pub fare, live music, a wide variety of beers, sports on the big screen, and even yabbie racing!

Sit back and relax in the delightful beer garden, as the friendly and professional staff make your evening one to remember. They even offer a free shuttle bus service to take you home safely after 6 pm on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.

One of our commenters, Phend, has had great experiences at Walsh’s Hotel in Queanbeyan. “Walsh’s Hotel in Queanbeyan has the best parma I’ve ever eaten,” they wrote. “Good steaks too.”

The Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan

Originally built in 1926, and re-established in 2012, the Royal Hotel is a pub serving up classic and fine food, delicious cocktails, and a huge selection beers. The impeccable renovation of this historic pub won the Best Redeveloped Country Hotel in both NSW and Australia.

The Royal Hotel hosts live entertainment on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, and serves up an exciting, ever-changing menu that offers everything from homemade sausages and smoky ribs to veggie burgers and Atlantic salmon.

John Moulis, one of our commenters, raved about their beer battered chips, writing “It’s not strictly Canberra, but I’ve found the Royal Hotel in Qbn to have the best pub food, certainly the best beer-battered chips.”

Civic Pub

A true classic, Civic Pub is a great place to relax and unwind after a long, hard day.

At the bar, choose from an impressive selection of local and imported beers. Hang out, or head to the large pool hall. With several tables, Civic Pub is a great place to grab your cue and put your skills to the test.

Hungry? Civic Pub serves up classic pub fare, healthy options, and mouth-watering desserts. There’s something for even the fussiest eaters.

In fact, pink little birdie claims there’s not a single bad thing on the menu, writing, “Civic pub. Never had a meal there I didn’t like.” Sounds good to us.

Bent Spoke Brewing Co.

Are you a bit of a beer nerd? Bent Spoke Brewing Co. is for you. Champion brewers Richard Watkins and Tracy Margrain set out to create the ultimate brewpub, featuring world-class beers, and delicious meals and snacks. The result – the award-winning Bent Spoke.

This pub has 18 varieties of beer and cider available at any one time, and each variety is brewed on premise. The menu offers a modern take on pub classics. Think grain-crusted hot wings and salt and pepper tofu.

One of our commenters, Glenny, has made Bent Spoke their regular. “Every weekend (without fail) we stop by Bent Spoke in Braddon. Awesome bespoke beer (no pun intended) and a great selection of food from nibbles to meals. Try the chicken wings! Can be a bit busy but worth it.”

What’s Your Favourite Pub in Canberra?

Have you got a favourite pub in the Canberra region? Maybe you’ve had a truly terrible experience.

Let us know in the comments section below.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Canberra’s Best Pub Meals
Russ 4:28 pm 13 Jul 15

It would be really good to see the prices for these different meals, as that surely is a factor?

rosscoact 4:08 pm 13 Jul 15

Mysteryman said :

rosscoact said :

Mysteryman said :

Antagonist said :

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

I completely agree. If that’s actually what’s being served in Melbourne pubs, then they have no idea what real pub food is.

The market decides what it wants to buy or not. If frou frou burgers sell more than deep fried bog rolls then the market will provide the former. Don’t blame business for providing what people want.

That has little, if anything, to do with the fact that none of the things mentioned are pub food. Just because people buy it, doesn’t make it pub food.

If it is served in a pub, by its very definition it is pub food. If it is served in a pub and doesn’t look like what you think should be pub food then you are the one who needs to change.

Mysteryman 2:52 pm 13 Jul 15

rosscoact said :

Mysteryman said :

Antagonist said :

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

I completely agree. If that’s actually what’s being served in Melbourne pubs, then they have no idea what real pub food is.

The market decides what it wants to buy or not. If frou frou burgers sell more than deep fried bog rolls then the market will provide the former. Don’t blame business for providing what people want.

That has little, if anything, to do with the fact that none of the things mentioned are pub food. Just because people buy it, doesn’t make it pub food.

rubaiyat 2:30 pm 13 Jul 15

rosscoact said :

Mysteryman said :

Antagonist said :

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

I completely agree. If that’s actually what’s being served in Melbourne pubs, then they have no idea what real pub food is.

The market decides what it wants to buy or not. If frou frou burgers sell more than deep fried bog rolls then the market will provide the former. Don’t blame business for providing what people want.

You have a naïve idea of how the market works.

If it is an American franchise, the U.S. Congress subsidises their advertising and marketing in foreign countries and in turn makes sure that foreign corporations are blocked from doing the same in the States.

The corporations will deny advertising influences either children or the child like adults who pay attention to it, but still oddly spend billions on something that “has no effect”.

The larger chains and franchises collude with the malls and real estate agents to get favourable treatment and keep out competitors.

If a business still outcompetes the franchisers, despite their greater purchasing and promotional power, or crosses them in any way, the corporation will make sure things go badly for the competition.

If all else fails they will buy out intractable competition, to the point that that is actually the objective of many small U.S. start-up businesses, to become enough of a nuisance to become a take-over target.

Above all else the corporations will get political parties to do their bidding, with a few strategically placed “donations”.

eg Politicians frequently declare it will prove “impossible” or too expensive to change or include health labels or warnings or contents lists, or take years to “transition” to necessary requirements, despite packaging is constantly changed in size, material, appearance, design and text for marketing or one off promotions on short notice.

rosscoact 12:40 pm 13 Jul 15

Mysteryman said :

Antagonist said :

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

I completely agree. If that’s actually what’s being served in Melbourne pubs, then they have no idea what real pub food is.

The market decides what it wants to buy or not. If frou frou burgers sell more than deep fried bog rolls then the market will provide the former. Don’t blame business for providing what people want.

Mysteryman 10:49 am 13 Jul 15

Antagonist said :

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

I completely agree. If that’s actually what’s being served in Melbourne pubs, then they have no idea what real pub food is.

Antagonist 10:16 am 13 Jul 15

bunnycoat said :

Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

This might be the food served in a Melbourne pub, but that does not make it ‘pub food’. And I don’t think many of your pub foods would go well with a beer, just quietly …

Bec – delighted that you went to the effort to ensure the schnitty was given a thorough workout, right down to the correct sauce.

rubaiyat 9:25 am 13 Jul 15

Yum! “impressive size” …that’s the best flavour! Eva!

ozdownunder 11:49 pm 12 Jul 15

The spicy BBQ chicken wings in Siren is a bit hit with Siren in Gungahlin

Bec Cuzzillo 4:06 pm 12 Jul 15

vintage123 said :

Ye Ha. Good Stuff. Finally a dining review with some food on the plate, hot chips and beer. Good work Bec

Haha. Thanks! Let me know if you would like to see me review anything in particular in the future. 🙂

bryansworld 10:07 am 10 Jul 15

bunnycoat said :

Kinda hard to review pub food in Canberra when there are hardly ANY PUBS! Looks like you have mentioned them all, and the food looks like 1970s pub offerings that haven’t changed in 40 years. Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

Maybe Canberrans are too concerned with things that matter as opposed to what they eat after a couple of beers. 🙂 Actually those offerings sound interesting. Do you have any photos? I don’t even know what a braise is. Is real BBQ like steaks and sausages cooked on a real BBQ?

Ghettosmurf87 9:53 am 10 Jul 15

bunnycoat said :

Kinda hard to review pub food in Canberra when there are hardly ANY PUBS! Looks like you have mentioned them all, and the food looks like 1970s pub offerings that haven’t changed in 40 years. Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

There are plenty of pubs/clubs that do “traditional pub food” in Canberra to go to. To just list ones that I have been to this year: King O’Malley’s; Edgars, PJ O’Reilly’s in the City, Civic Pub, Hopscotch, O’Neils, Bentspoke, the Lighthouse, George Harcourt Inn, Old Canberra Inn, Walt & Burley, Kingston Pub (Hotel), Siren, Debacle & The Duxton.

There are also a bunch I haven’t been to for a feed recently or ever, such as PJ O’Reilly’s in Tuggeranong, Olims/Mercure, The Dock, the Durham, Uni Pub, Zierholz, Public, Polit Bar, The RUC in Barton & Turner, Little Brooklyn, Hogsbreath, Moose, Tongue & Groove, Suburban, London Burgers, Kaleen Bar & Bistro, Mawson Club, the Irish Club, etc

Then there are the various sports clubs around Canberra that also have a number of traditional pub meals, such as The Tradies, Ainslie Football Club & Gungahlin Lakes, Eastlake Football clubs venues, the various Southern Cross Clubs, Hellenic Club, the Labor Club, the Raiders Clubs, Vikings, Magpies & lots other little ones I don’t know about etc.

For a small city, there’s plenty of options. Or you can just spend your life being envious of somewhere you’re not…which is really productive

bunnycoat 10:33 pm 09 Jul 15

Kinda hard to review pub food in Canberra when there are hardly ANY PUBS! Looks like you have mentioned them all, and the food looks like 1970s pub offerings that haven’t changed in 40 years. Travel to a real city like Melbourne if you want to eat great pub food – current pub food trends are real BBQ, lobster and crab rolls, roasts and braises in the winter and asian fusion salads in the warmer months.

liability 7:21 pm 06 Jul 15

Olims Bar & Bistro at the Mercure Canberra on Limestone Avenue is pretty good for pub food. I eat there semi regularly, and the chicken schnitzel in particular is very good, and a very large serve.

They also have $4 schooners for several varieties of Scharwtz beer, the Scharwtz family apparently own the hotel, or so the staff tell me. You won’t get much cheaper than $4 a schooner.

vintage123 1:48 pm 06 Jul 15

Ye Ha. Good Stuff. Finally a dining review with some food on the plate, hot chips and beer. Good work Bec

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