Ever heard of the “six o’clock swill”? Well, under old Australian licensing laws, pubs could only serve beer from 10am until 6pm, which was inconvenient for most workers with a 9-to-5 day job. So, at 5pm, they’d jump from their desks, run to the nearest pub, and gulp down as much as possible in the one hour of drinking time available to them. The six o’clock swill had obvious negative effects and
Visit to Australian Hotel Pub Crawls Photo Gallery
eventually the laws changed to allow pubs to stay open until later, which in turn had the impact of creating the possibility of pub crawls. If you’re reading this, then there’s a good probability that you like a pub crawl.
While it’s true that there aren’t many (or any) unique world pub crawls, there are definitely some great ones to go on, including visiting historic London pubs, bouncing between tapas bars in Madrid, sampling Munich’s brauhauses, or trying out the ruin bars in Budapest. However, big Australian cities have many old hotels that are now pubs and these have become uniquely Australian drinking places.
These hotel pubs—typically now just pubs—were once multi-purpose places: a bar to drink in, a restaurant to eat at, somewhere to sleep, to meet, to do business, to send and receive mail, plus some also served as a general store. Often in grand old buildings with elaborate balconies and lots of space, they have since been repurposed and taken over by plenty of great beer.
Both Sydney and Melbourne have numerous great examples of these pubs spread around the cities. And they’re proper pubs. They sell chips and bar food and there’s sport on TV and the beer is ice cold. In Sydney, The Australian Heritage Hotel (100 Cumberland Street; australianheritagehotel.com) in The Rocks is an important old pub and in a prime locations, while the nearby Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel (19 Kent Street; www.lordnelsonbrewery.com) specializes in British-styled beers and is the oldest continually licensed hotel in the city.
In Melbourne, there’s The Great Northern Hotel (644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North 3054; www.gnh.net.au) with a great garden and even greater tap list. The Royston (12 River Street; www.roystonhotel.com.au) is a dark, horseshoe-shaped bar opposite Mountain Goat Brewery. Have a parma and a pint.