The best restaurants and bars in Kingston

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people at bar

Queenies is one of the most recommended bars and restaurants in Kingston. Photos: Thomas Lucraft.

Kingston may be Canberra’s oldest suburb but that doesn’t mean its bar and restaurant scene is tired or outdated. In fact, Kingston is brimming with amazing restaurants and cafes that are absolutely worth the journey beyond the city centre. Some are more formal, some casual, and some cheap and cheerful. One thing is for sure: they all promise to fuel you with food and drink.

Whether you’re after a family-friendly venue or the perfect bar for a night out with your mates, Kingston has plenty to offer. But maybe you haven’t been to Kingston in a while and you’re not sure what’s around – that’s where we come in!

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a restaurant or bar, and give you a helpful guide to some of the best venues in Kingston to help you plan your next night out.

What makes a great restaurant or bar?

The quality of your chosen venue can truly make or break your night. You’ll want great food, great drinks and solid service.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a restaurant or bar in Kingston:

  • Personality. Assess what you want from your time out, and pick a restaurant or bar that matches your mood. Some venues offer fine dining with a quiet ambience. Others are more casual and laid-back. Some have a great vibe and can accommodate larger parties.
  • Cost. You might not want to break the bank when you head to a restaurant or bar. This means you should consider cost when choosing where to go. It goes unsaid that upmarket restaurants cost more than pub-style establishments. Know what you’re in for, so you don’t resent the bill when it arrives.
  • Dining area. Some restaurants and cafes have indoor and outdoor dining. If a bit of sun, or a meal or cold brew under some shade, is important, select a restaurant or bar with a great outdoor area.
  • Menu. Checking the menu in advance helps avoid disappointment, especially if one of your party has food allergies or special requirements. Check online for the type of cuisine. Also check whether vegetarian and gluten-free options are available (if needed). You can also look at prices.
  • Atmosphere. From the decor to the crowd, the atmosphere of a restaurant or bar is a huge part of making you feel welcome and comfortable. Look for places with unique interior design that are busy enough without being overcrowded, and maybe keep an eye out for venues that put on live music from time to time.

The best restaurants and bars in Kingston

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Queenies

Queenies

Queenies, a true local, holds a prime position in Kingston. Serving a wide range of Australian and Canberra region wines, selected spirits and a rotating selection of craft beers from independently owned breweries, Queenies is a great spot to share a drink and foods with friends, family or colleagues.

Seasonal and free range produce are a priority and dishes – each a feast for the senses – have a uniquely native twist with intriguing ingredients like warringal greens, red desert dust, wattleseed and finger lime. Meals are designed to share, including delicious charcuterie and cheese. Desserts guarantee a sweet ending to the Queenies experience. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free dishes are all covered.

At Queenies, take a seat at the bar, snuggle into a cosy carriage or snag a spot at a couch or small table. The large outdoor area is perfect for good times in good weather.

Queenies is famous for its cocktails and mocktails with staff shaking and stirring colourful, beautiful looking drinks, and pouring from the curated list of wines, behind the long, open bar.

Queenies offers rotating live music and Queen B sessions support women musicians. DJs play Friday and Saturday evenings.

Functions and events are all accommodated at Queenies, whether casual cocktails, engagements, birthdays, work parties, fundraisers or charity events. A special functions menu is available.

Raja Ratnam wrote on Google, “Absolutely loved this place! Great atmosphere, genuine friendly services, eclectic decor and great for conversations with friends. Great food selection and nice bar!”

The Durham Castle Arms

The Durham Castle Arms has been proudly serving Green Square, Kingston, for over a quarter of a century. One of the last English-style pubs in Canberra, the warm and old-school interior contrasted with innovative craft beers on tap and a creative menu that features classic pub grub and modern food, the Durham reminds us that we can appreciate the traditional while still enjoying the new. With trivia nights, live music, board games and a kids menu, plus plenty of outdoor seating, The Durham delivers a definitive pub experience.

Kym Bergmann wrote on Google, “The Durham has outlasted many of its competitors by sticking with a formula of reasonably priced drinks and good food served in a casual and very friendly atmosphere.”

Pomegranate Restaurant

Pomegranate Restaurant is a smart, casual venue with a terrace, offering modern Australian food with a Mediterranean twist. Located in the heart of old Kingston, Pomegranate offers a classic, sophisticated dining experience, with an emphasis on quality regional produce, fresh ingredients and superb technique. The beautifully plated dishes and exceptional wine list are matched with expert, considerate service.

Rob Francis wrote on Google, “Absolutely fantastic food and amazing table service. A really enjoyable night.”

Caribou Kingston

A popular and lively watering hole, Caribou has a Canadian theme covering its décor, drinks and food. Caribou is in Green Square and invites guests to sit back, relax and enjoy old school Canadian hospitality. Watch ice hockey on big screen tvs, shoot some pool or hang out on picnic tables on the square. Poutine anyone?

Carol Albor wrote on Google, “The bartenders are very friendly. This place has such an amazing atmosphere … definitely worth the visit.”

Kingston Hotel

The Kingston Hotel, more than 80 years old and affectionately known as “The Kingo”, is a well-known favourite among Kingston locals. The Kingo offers the quintessential pub experience - boutique beers are on tap, the menu is well-priced and the atmosphere is friendly. If you're after cheap and tasty pub grub, then dine in at Maddies Restaurant where most mains are under $25. Or, cook your own steak exactly how you like it at The Steakhouse, perfect for families and large groups.

Jenny Dare wrote on Google, “Food was fabulous, fresh and the servings were extremely well presented. Well done.”

If you’re looking for more information on eating and drinking in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best Kingston foreshore bars and restaurants, best fine-dining restaurants, best Italian restaurants, best French restaurants, best Chinese restaurants and the best cocktail bars the city has to offer.

Your experience with restaurants and bars in Kingston

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of restaurants and bars are in Kingston?

Kingston restaurants and bars have everyone’s tastes covered. There’s Asian, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, Chinese, modern Australian, pub grub and so much more.

Is it expensive to dine in Kingston?

Kingston has restaurants and bars at all price points. This ranges from cheap-and-cheerful venues to fine dining, and everything in between.

Can I dine outdoors in Kingston?

You bet you can. Many Kingston establishments have indoor and outdoor dining. Some outdoor dining is available on Green Square, for example. And the Kingston Foreshore has heaps of establishments with great views of Lake Burley Griffin.

Is it wise to book for Kingston restaurants and bars?

This depends on many factors. When you’re going out is one thing to consider, with weekends tending to be super busy. Also, consider the size of your party and what the occasion is. Certainly, it’s better to be safe than sorry by booking in advance.

Are all Kingston restaurants open seven days?

Only some are. Some might be closed Sundays or Mondays, for example. It’s best to call or check the establishment’s website or social media for opening days and times.

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