July 3, 2019 / By Jacqueline Alanne
If you’re in the mood, there’s nothing quite like a pub atmosphere. Whether it’s historical, heritage listed buildings oozing old charm, or gastropubs with designer fit-outs and an emphasis on food, you don’t have to stay in the city to find a classic near you. Here, our curation of the greatest country pubs around a three hour (or less) drive from Adelaide, South Australia.
Resting on an awkward bend in a quaint Adelaide Hills town, the Uraidla Pub is as charming as it is a secret hotspot for city folk in need of weekend respite. With a great outdoor aspect, and a new cafe, brewery and bakery next door, there’s something for every time of day. Great food and the perfect place to bring a pack of cards and hibernate through the afternoon with friends. If you’re lucky enough to score the Chesterfields in front of the fire on a winter’s day, don’t let them go!
On the main street of Port Elliot, the Hotel Elliot has always stood, yet it’s recently enjoyed a resurgence of foot traffic thanks to a new beer garden. Great for a cheeky pub meal when you don’t feel like cooking, or visit a pizza in the wood fire oven. The front bar is a real classic, if that’s your vibe. Overlooking the classic Cockle train crossing, prepare for wild “WHOOO!”s from Saturday afternoon patrons as it grumbles on by.
It’s hard to look past the Victory if you’re within a 20km or so radius. Whether it’s for a feed, or a vino, The Victory will have you feeling right at home. A beautiful grassy vista overlooking the ocean is the perfect vantage point for catching the sunset before you head in for a feed. Owner Doug Govan is a teense obsessed with his wine list, and true to form, keeps the iconic cellars stocked with all sorts of treasures, new and old. Pop underground and select your own bottle to enjoy for the ultimate Victory experience.
The Flinders Ranges is one of those places South Australians often overlook, yet others come from far and wide to explore its quintessential Australiana beauty. Northstar Hotel resides on the main street of a small town named Melrose in the South of the Ranges, and is everything you’d expect from a pub on the main street of an Australian small town. Functioning with a cafe, accommodation, and the cellar door for Bundaleer wines, expect cold beers, an early dinner service, and old-fashioned hospitality!
Known as ‘The Cally’, Robe’s Caledonian Inn is the best character pub on the Limestone coast. Established in 1858, with sea views, it’s a fantastic function space, as well as a beloved local. With a seafood focused menu, an ocean outlook, and an expansive lawn, it’s fabulous in summer. In winter, it takes on the persona of quaint classic pub - you could be forgiven for thinking you have landed in the UK! Accommodation also available.
Probably as close as you can get to Adelaide while still falling into the ‘country’ category… we couldn’t help but slip this local favourite in. This seriously funky pub sets a new standard for Adelaide Hills pubs, and is actually nicer than most of the pubs in town! Visit for a great Gastropub experience, for the craft beer selection, or even stay the night in one of its seven recently updated, elegant rooms. The wine list alone is makes the Crafters Hotel worth multiple visits!
The vibes of this pub are so in tune with its surroundings that Marion Bay’s Tavern, that from the outside, you could be forgiven for thinking it is some kind of surf life saving club, or even a beach house! With an a-la-carte menu in addition to wood fire pizzas, a very South Australian wine list, this Yorke Peninsula pub is an organic addition to Marion Bay. Situated right on Jetty road leading out to the jetty, salty vibes prevail through the indoor/outdoor dining space. A bottle shop and five rooms also available for those passing through.
Country pubs sure know how to function as a one-stop shop, and a bit of an unofficial community hub! Work your way around SA, and enjoy capturing a little of each town’s energy in their local watering hole - you’ll be glad you did.
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