In the city of Geelong, tucked into the elbow of Port Phillip Bay, there's an intriguing alchemy brewing between the old and the new. A city with a history that proudly salutes its roots, Geelong has come a long way from its humble beginnings. She's like a mature lass who's learnt to laugh at her wrinkles, embracing the winds of change while tipping her hat to tradition. You see, Geelong isn't just any city, it's a quiet symphony, where past and present harmoniously coalesce. But what really sets the tempo here? Ah, it's the pubs - especially the many rooftop bars that adorn the cityscape, each offering a unique view and a distinct brew.
If thirst takes hold and the spirit of adventure tickles your fancy, let's embark on a journey through the heart of Geelong, where the roar of the Geelong Cats Football Club is as constant as the tides and the pour of the perfect pint. We're not just wandering through the city; we're immersing ourselves in a culture, a lifestyle, a distinctly Geelong experience.
A constellation of rooftop bars speckle Geelong, each with its own personality. Some are elegant, some earthy, while others are downright cheeky. But there's something they all share: a view that'll take your breath away, and a glass that’s always half full. On any given Saturday night, you'll find these high-altitude havens echoing with laughter and bursting with stories that hang in the air, just like the stars above.
But let's not forget the heart and soul of Geelong's pub scene – the warm, inviting taverns tucked away in her cobble-stoned lanes. A polished bar counter, gleaming beer taps, and a dining room steeped in a history as rich as the dark stouts on tap. When you walk into a Geelong pub, it’s not just about the ice cold beer and warm food; it's a step into a living, breathing narrative, a culinary script where each dish tells its own tale.
Now, talking about tales, Saturday nights in Geelong are a story in themselves. The whole city seems to vibrate with a shared excitement. The air gets heavy with the scent of beer and a delectable medley of food aromas. And you can always hear that triumphant cheer for another victory by the Geelong Football Club, resonating through every bar and pub.
Geelong is a city that cradles its pub culture lovingly, where every rooftop bar, every charming nook of a tavern, is an experience to be savoured. It's a place where your beer is cold, your meal is hot, and you're always greeted with a smile that makes you feel like a local. But remember, it's not just about the cold beer or the hearty food, it's about the stories shared, the laughter echoed, and the memories made. So, here's to Geelong, where every pub has a tale and every tale has a pub!
How We Choose
Embarking on a quest to taste the true essence of Geelong, our Culturlist team finds joy in the journey just as much as the destination. We dive headfirst into the bustling pub scene, our mission: to seek out the best while savouring every craft beer, every conversation, and every bite along the way.
We find ourselves drawn to the pubs where tradition blends seamlessly with innovation. We ask: is this just another beer, or is it the echo of Geelong's brewing legacy? Does the outdoor beer garden merely exist, or does it pulse with the vibrant rhythm of the city?
Our mission takes us further, delving into the nuances. Does the chill of the beer match the city's cool charm? Does the very reasonable price reflect the true essence of the Geelong spirit? And is the food just a side note, or does it harmonize with the beer, creating a symphony of flavours?
After countless tastings and endless laughter, we arrive at our handpicked gems. These are the Geelong pubs where every pint, every plate, and every panorama capture the city's soul. This curated list is more than a guide; it's an invitation to experience Geelong like we did, one unforgettable pub at a time.
The Culturlist's Best Pubs in Geelong
The Inn Hotel
The Inn Hotel on Corio St is the kind of place that doesn't need an extravagant introduction. Its character seeps through the corrugated-iron décor, where each rusted ripple seems to hold a tale. The location is as vibrant as the ambiance, settled in the heart of Geelong with a keen eye on the bustling city life. As soon as you step into its leafy beer garden, you’re greeted by a sense of tranquillity that seems to contrast and yet harmonize with the urban rhythm. The offerings here are as straightforward as they come - classic pub grub and roasts, crafted with a care that nods to the city’s culinary heritage.
Why We Love It
There's an understated allure to The Inn Hotel that swept us off our feet. Among the delights that we savoured, the standout was undoubtedly The Inn Grazing Board. The warm, crusty bread seemed to share a hearty laugh with the paired selection of cheeses, while the three assorted dips struck a dance with the cured meat. The marinated olives, roasted capsicum, pickles, and artichokes added a tangy counterpoint to the symphony, while the grapes and crackers brought a delightful finale. It’s a gastronomic tale woven with a rich tapestry of flavours, a testament to the thoughtful preparation that goes into every plate.
Why You Should Go
The Inn Hotel is the place to be, especially on a Saturday night. The atmosphere pulsates with an infectious energy that sweeps you up into its lively rhythm. Whether you're there for a group dinner or social drinks, the charm of The Inn Hotel is a contagious celebration. As the evening rolls in, the sounds of disco DJs fill the air, enticing even the shyest wallflowers onto the dance floor. It’s a place where great food, great drinks, and funky beats come together to create a unique experience that epitomizes the spirited essence of Geelong. So, if you’re ready to embrace the night and the delightful surprises it holds, The Inn Hotel is your ticket to the authentic Geelong experience. Check out their website HERE
Sawyer's Arms Tavern
Tucked away on Noble St, Sawyer's Arms Tavern is a testament to Geelong's love for the authentic and the enduring. Its long-running history is almost as palpable as the aroma of the hearty gastropub fare wafting through the air. With its brick walls and cosy fireplaces, the tavern wraps you in a warm embrace, while the menu, punctuated by steaks, seafood, and craft beer, sings a homely melody. The charm of Sawyer's Arms Tavern lies in its ability to transport you back in time, while still keeping its finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary tastes.
Why We Love It
Sawyer's Arms Tavern strikes a chord with its gastronomic composition that harmonizes the traditional with the innovative. Among their symphony of dishes, the Roasted Duck Leg stands as a captivating solo. The duck leg, cooked to a sublime tenderness, tells a tale of culinary craftsmanship that is further elevated by the sweet notes of beetroot compote. The crispy pancetta adds a welcome crunch to the melody, while the chicken sauce ties it all together in a rich, comforting crescendo. It's a dish that not only delights the taste buds but also narrates an unforgettable culinary story.
Why You Should Go
If there's one thing that resonates with the spirit of Geelong, it's the value-for-money experiences that don’t skimp on quality or flavour. The "Feed Me" $65 Menu, available for Saturday lunch at Sawyer's Arms Tavern, is a fine example of this ethos. With an array of beautifully presented dishes and an atmosphere brimming with friendliness, it's an experience that feeds more than just your stomach. If you're seeking an intimate encounter with the city's culinary pulse, wrapped in a cloak of warm hospitality, make Sawyer's Arms Tavern your next stop on this Geelong adventure. It’s where the city’s history, culture, and flavours converge, creating a memorable and authentic local experience. Check out their website HERE
The Geelong Hotel, nestled in the vivacious rhythm of Yarra St, is a concoction of spirited ambiances and hearty cuisines. It is an establishment that mirrors the dynamic ethos of Geelong with its three vibrant bars, each a unique chapter in the city's lively narrative. Here, fine food isn't just a promise but a palpable, taste-bud-tantalizing reality. And to top it all, the band room stands as a tribute to live gigs, breathing an infectious rhythm into the hotel's atmosphere.
Why We Love It
The Geelong Hotel charmed us not just with its ambience but also its culinary prowess. Their Chicken Parmigiana stood out as an ode to comfort food, beautifully crafted with smoked ham and a generous helping of cheese. The napoli sauce added a tangy undertone, while the apple slaw and chips brought a delightful crunch to the mix. It was a gastronomic masterpiece that had us considering a return visit, just for another taste of that Parma. Indeed, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Victoria's best Parma might just be found here!
Why You Should Go
The Geelong Hotel isn't just a place to grab a meal or a drink; it's a place to celebrate life, be it through a grand function or a simple evening spent under the stars at the rooftop bar. The versatility of the hotel, coupled with its vivacious ambiance, make it an ideal destination for any occasion. Whether you're planning a celebration or just looking to unwind with a craft beer, the Geelong Hotel has you covered. So, why not make it your next stop? Take in the view from the rooftop bar, let the music fill your soul, and let the Chicken Parmigiana steal your heart. Trust us, it's an experience worth cherishing. Check out their website HERE
The National Hotel
The National Hotel on Moorabool St is not just a pub; it's a piece of Geelong's history. With its roots stretching back to 1856, it stands as one of the city's oldest licensed pubs. Yet, time hasn't diluted its allure, but rather added a layer of charm that is hard to resist. Within its historical façade, a talented crew serves up a blend of old-world warmth and modern culinary flair. And let's not forget the rooftop bar - a perfect perch from where to soak in the spirit of Geelong.
Why We Love It
What truly captured our hearts at The National Hotel was a deceptively simple dish - the Char Grilled Pork Cutlet. Cooked to perfection, the pork cutlet was a tantalizing journey of textures and flavours. The sautéed potatoes brought a homey comfort to the plate, while the greens offered a fresh crunch. But the star of the show was undoubtedly the apple and maple glaze - a sweet, tangy revelation that wrapped the pork cutlet in a delectable cloak of flavours.
Why You Should Go
The National Hotel is more than just a dining destination. It is an experience that brings together history, hospitality, and heartiness. With its welcoming ambiance, value-for-money offerings, and a family-friendly atmosphere, it is a spot that promises more than just a meal. The rooftop deck, with its sprawling views and breezy charm, is worth a visit alone. So, if you're looking for a place that echoes the rich tapestry of Geelong's history while serving up delicious fare, make sure The National Hotel is on your list. It's where the city's past and present converge over a meal, a pint, and a heart-warming laugh. Check out their website HERE
Perched on High St in Geelong, the Belmont Hotel holds its own as a portal into the world of global cuisines. This isn't your run-of-the-mill pub; it's a symphony of tastes, served in a setting as casual as it is welcoming. With its comfy couches beckoning you to settle in and a rooftop beer garden that seems to call out to the sky, Belmont Hotel is an enchanting mix of homely and adventurous. And when it comes to their offerings, brace yourself for a whirlwind tour of gutsy global meals and street food.
Why We Love It
Belmont Hotel swept us off our feet with its unique culinary repertoire. The Thai fish cakes were an explosion of flavours that danced on our palates, accompanied by a sweet chilli sauce that added an extra kick. But the culinary journey didn't end there. The beef empanadas were a tale of textures and tastes, with the rich filling complimented perfectly by the tangy tomato chutney. It was an experience that made us feel like intrepid culinary explorers in our own hometown.
Why You Should Go
If you're in search of a place that offers more than just a meal, then Belmont Hotel should be on your radar. With its fantastic rooftop, welcoming ambiance, and friendly staff, it's an experience that encompasses all that is great about Geelong's pub culture. What’s more, the prices are as satisfying as the food, promising a worthwhile experience that doesn't burn a hole in your pocket. So, why not take a gastronomic leap and head over to Belmont Hotel? It's a slice of the world served up in a friendly Geelong setting, where global flavours and local charm meet over a pint and a plate. Check out their website HERE
Sir Charles Darling Hotel
Tucked away on Bellerine St, the Sir Charles Darling Hotel is a testament to the timeless allure of the classic pub. Steeped in history, this 1850s venue pulsates with the echo of countless stories told over regional wines and hearty meals. It's a place where the cheer of live sports on TV melds with the convivial buzz of a lively beer garden, creating an ambiance that's as warm as it is intoxicating.
Why We Love It
Among the many offerings of Sir Charles Darling Hotel, one dish grabbed our hearts (and taste buds) - the Club Sandwich. A symphony of flavours layered between slices of bread, it featured succulent chicken, crispy bacon, and melty cheese harmonizing with fresh lettuce and tomato. And let's not forget the sweet chilli mayonnaise - an unexpected twist that elevated the sandwich to new culinary heights. As we bit into it, savouring each flavour, we knew we'd found something truly special.
Why You Should Go
Beyond its compelling culinary offerings, Sir Charles Darling Hotel stands out with its Steak night every Monday and Tuesday, a weekly ritual that adds a sizzle to the start of your week. Its proximity to the foreshore means you're just a leisurely stroll away from the lapping waves, making it an ideal spot for those seeking good food and great views. The dining room, with its old country pub style, exudes a charm that is sure to warm your heart and your stomach. All things considered, a visit to Sir Charles Darling Hotel is more than just a meal - it's a journey into the heart of Geelong's rich pub culture, one delicious bite at a time. Check out their website HERE
Best Pubs in Geelong For You
There you have it, folks, a handpicked list of Geelong's finest watering holes. These are the places that have won our hearts, tickled our taste buds, and lured us in with their unending charm. From the leafy beer garden of The Inn Hotel to the chic rooftop bars of The National Hotel and Belmont Hotel, the city is teeming with inviting spots. We savoured every bite, from Belmont's Thai fish cakes to the iconic club sandwich at the Sir Charles Darling Hotel.
Yet, we'd be remiss not to mention the ever-vibrant Geelong Hotel, a spot as notorious for its epic Chicken Parmigiana as it is for its live gigs. Or the Sawyers Arms Tavern, where the ambiance is as tantalizing as the roasted duck leg. And of course, we can't forget the inviting old-world charm of The National Hotel and its delightful pork cutlet.
Each spot has its unique allure, its stories, and flavours that make it a vital piece of Geelong's vibrant culinary tapestry. Whether it's the whisper of history in the walls of the National Hotel or the modern groove of Belmont Hotel's rooftop beer garden, there's a place in Geelong for every mood and craving.
If you’re looking for one last tip, let it be this - take a detour to the Malt Shovel Taphouse. Give their private beer tasting zones a try. It might just be the crowning jewel on your pub-crawl adventure.
So there it is, my friends. Embark on this adventure through the heart of Geelong's pub scene. Soak in the atmosphere, savour the flavours, and make some unforgettable memories. This isn't just a list of pubs - it's an invitation to experience Geelong in all its gritty, delicious glory. Enjoy, explore, and remember to save room for another pint!
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