Bars & Pubs

19 Of The Best Country Pubs In NSW Worth The Road Trip

By Jessica Best

When it comes to NSW’s best country pubs, we're looking for wholesome feeds, cold beers, and beautiful scenes with local flavour—and maybe even a spot to call home for a night or two.

Country pubs all across NSW ooze that all-Aussie, no-frills atmosphere you simply can’t dig up anywhere else. They’re all about supporting local producers, brewers and musical talent and never fail to serve up solid banter.

Jump in the car, these are Urban List's picks for the best country pubs in NSW to visit on a day trip, road trip, or weekend getaway.

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The Best Country Pubs In Northern NSW
The Best Country Pubs In Western NSW
The Best Country Pubs In Southern NSW

North

The Eltham Hotel

Eltham

best country pubs nsw the eltham hotel
Image credit: The Eltham Hotel | Instagram

This Northern Rivers watering hole looks like it belongs on a postcard. It's got charm aplenty thanks to its towering palm trees, retro paint job, and expansive outdoor area that's perfect for soaking up that fresh country air, an easy trip out of Byron Bay. While tourists flock here for lunch in the summer months, it's really a locals' pub year-round (and there are also five beautifully styled rooms upstairs where you can stay the night).

The kitchen here is helmed by noted chef Alanna Sapwell-Stone, who isn't rocking the boat, but serving classic pub grub with a bit of polish and retro influence; think a blooming onion with sweet chilli and sour cream, wild boar ragu paccheri,  beer-battered market fish and chips and sticky date pudding.

The Eltham Hotel hosts a great lineup of live music every week, and it's got a good mix of craft brews, classic cold ones and funky wines.

Laguna Trading Post

Laguna

best country pubs nsw laguna trading post
Image credit: Laguna Trading Post | Website

Looking for an old-school pub a little closer to the big smoke? You'll find the Great Northern Trading Post near the Hunter Valley in Laguna—and it's more than just a country pub. You can head here for your morning coffee, pick up fresh veg and artisan cheese from the on-site grocer, hit up a seasonal market, catch some live tunes, daydream about becoming a local at the adjoining real estate agent and, of course, settle in for a pub feed and a cold one. It's also the only petrol station around these parts (which is handy to know when on a road trip). 

The establishment located on Tourist Drive 33 has been around since 1879, making it a charming spot for an afternoon brew in its outdoor courtyard or cosy interior. Keen to check out another gem in the area? The historic Wollombi Tavern is less than a ten-minute drive away. 

Settlers Arms Inn

Saint Albans

Old-school car parked outside sandstone building
Image credit: Destination NSW | Jem Cresswell

The Settlers Arms Inn is as much of a pub as it is a historic site. Built from convict-hewn sandstone, this country pub is surrounded by mountains next to the Macdonald River and is the perfect place to spend a day when the winter chill starts to set in—you can also camp right outside. She’s a bit of a destination pub, accessible by crossing the Hawkesbury at Wisemans Ferry, but she’s so very worth the adventure.

The beer garden involves a bit of dirt in your shoes and the food menu is never really the same with fresh produce brought in throughout the week (however, you will find some staple pies, tarts, cakes, and scones every day, all of which are made on-site).

The Pub With No Beer

Taylors Arm

If it’s good enough for Slim Dusty, it’s good enough for us. Contrary to its name, the Pub With No Beer does stock the good stuff, and is located about a 20-minute drive out of Macksville (you can also scope the best things to do in the area here). This NSW country pub is a step back in time and dates back to the start of the 20th century, and it's decorated with loads of Slim Dusty memorabilia.

Here, you’ll find wood-fired pizzas cooked to perfection and 16 different beers on tap or, when the mercury drops, the go-to is the belly-warming roast beef and gravy roll. You can also cop an array of housemade pies (specials change every day), which all get served with chips or mash and gravy.

The Billinudgel Hotel

Billinudgel

best country pubs nsw the billinudgel hotel
Image credit: The Billinudgel Hotel | Website

Located in Brunswick Valley, The Billinudgel Hotel is an absolute institution, and its bar and beer garden have undergone some solid refurbs to keep the early 20th century vibes alive. Opened in 1898, this country pub was the local watering hole for farmers, timber-getters, and construction workers. 

In summer, the beer garden is the place to be with regular markets and mini-festivals, fairy lights, and The Shed: the pub’s resident live music pergola. In winter, you can cosy up inside with schnitties, steaks and burgers.

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Commercial Boutique Hotel

Tenterfield

three men sitting in pub
Image credit: Commerical Boutique Hotel | Website

Up in the New England High Country, the Commercial Boutique Hotel is one of the best country pubs in NSW, especially during the winter months, with eight renovated 1940s rooms you can stay the night in just 20 minutes from Ballandean or 40 from Stanthorpe.

Oozing art deco vibes and all the country charm, this pub also has a cosy fireplace to boot. The beer and wine situation here pays tribute to local and Australian brewers and winemakers, while the food has a European influence (with all your pub classics too).

Star Hotel

Macksville

best country pubs nsw star hotel macksville
Image credit: Star Hotel | Facebook

For big river views of the Nambucca River, a wrap-around verandah and an impressive reno of its 1880s facade, Mackville’s Star Hotel is an icon. This riverside pub is known for its pontoon and jetty (so it’s a popular pitstop for boaties and houseboats), as well as its fern-filled courtyard and the pavilion-style beer garden.

The “star” menu item goes to the succulent baby back pork ribs cooked for 24 hours. These beauties get smothered in a spicy watermelon BBQ sauce and yeah—we had never heard of that combo before either.

Hotel Brunswick

Brunswick Heads

best country pubs nsw hotel brunswick
Image credit: Hotel Brunswick | Facebook

You’ll find this mega pub at the end of Mullumbimbi Street in good old Brunswick Heads. It’s a mecca for live music and has been since it was built back in 1884—you're basically guaranteed to spot musicians playing festivals in the area chilling or plating a sneaky sideshow here. Known for its laidback crowd and water views, the vibes at Hotel Brunswick go off and you can expect to leave with few more mates than you went in with.

You can dine in the dedicated bistro space on fried lobster buns, salmon poke bowls, or lamb shawarma pitas, or pull up under the trees in the beer garden with your fave pub feed.

West

The Royal Richmond

Richmond

The Royal Richmond had a massive makeover a couple of years ago and, as the closest pub to Sydney on this list, it's well worth a visit or stop on your way to the Blue Mountains.

It's one of the country's oldest continuously operating pubs, and does pub classics—free-range chicken schnitzel, burgers, parmigiana, dry-aged steaks, pizzas (with gluten-free bases available), and beer-battered fish and chips. As well as the bistro, the reno also included a brand new winter-ready cocktail bar, complete with fireplaces, a heritage wood-panelled bar, and window seating with a pretty view of Richmond Park. 

The Rockley Pub

Rockley

best country pubs the rockley pub matt moran
Image credit: The Rockley Pub | Website

Run by top chef (and local farmer) Matt Moran, The Rockley Pub is a quintessential country stop in the Central Tablelands.

There's a few charming rooms you can sleep over in, or you can drop in for a feed with the kitchen turning out trout rillettes with crostini and nasturtium, Moran Family Farm sausages with garlic mash and peas, and classic parmis. Plan a visit around the Rockley Artisan Markets, or head in on the last Saturday of the month to catch live music.

Silverton Hotel

Silverton

best country pubs nsw the silverton hotel
Image credit: The Silverton Hotel | Facebook

The Silverton Hotel is Australia’s version of a Hollywood movie lot, way out near the South Australian border. Marked by the pimped-up, black Volkswagen beetle parked out the front (a cheeky homage to Mad Max’s V8 Interceptor)—this bush watering hole will bring back big film memories for anyone who has seen Razorback, Wake In Fright, The Slim Dusty Movie, Mission Impossible IIThe Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and a heap more.

Follow the red dirt roads to classic pub feeds a bushman's breakfast, Chiko Rolls, steaks, a pie, chips and gravy combo, and old-school burgers.

The Palace Hotel

Broken Hill

Painted walls and wooden staircase
Image credit: The Palace Hotel | Website

Before it became a holy site for sinking schooners, The Palace Hotel was actually a venue dedicated to all things coffee. This beautiful country pub (which you have no doubt already spotted in The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert), is decked out in landscape murals, all of which include a body of water.

There's a few spaces to enjoy a pub feed like the dining room and pavilions, public bar, and upstairs balcony overlooking Broken Hill's buzzing main street.

Hotel Canabolas

Orange

Smack-bang in the centre of Orange, Hotel Canabolas is a locals joint run by the crew behind The Dolphin in Surry Hills and Shell House in the Sydney CBD—so you know the standards are high.

As well as 45 rooms you can spend the night in, Hotel Canabolas has a bistro, pizza bar, spacious courtyard and charming front bar, with eats like rotisserie chicken plates, porchetta rolls, charcoal-grilled steaks and perfectly done pub classics. Visit during Orange Food Week for a lineup of events and buzzing atmosphere.

Packsaddle Roadhouse

Packsaddle

outback pub near highwayFor the ultimate outback pub vibes, look no further than the trusty, rusty Packsaddle Roadhouse. He’s been dubbed a “diamond in the dust” and lies almost 200km north of Broken Hill sporting a bar, dining room, a beer garden, and even some on-site camping if you’re keen.

Decked out with corrugated iron, monster kegs, fairy lights, and hanging cowboy hats and boots, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a Clint Eastwood movie. No surprise, it’s all about rump steak, T-bones, grilled feeds, and schnitzels here, with a solid slew of tasty meat pies as well.

Jack Duggan's Irish Pub

Bathurst

Sure, you may remember Bath-Vegas for the time you went gold panning there in primary school, or potentially lost your morals in the halls of the uni bar, but once you visit Jack Duggan’s Irish Pub—that’s how you’ll remember this town.

These guys have won a tonne of awards, and for good reason. Traditional pub grub-meets-traditional Irish fare is the go, and Friday and Saturday nights are for live music—so pack your dancin’ shoes.

South

Burrawang Village Hotel

Burrawang

best country pubs nsw burrawang village hotel
Image credit: Burrawang Village Hotel | Website

It really doesn’t get more country than The Burrawang Village Hotel. Surrounded by stunning grounds and views of the Southern Highlands, The Burrawang is a firm favourite with locals and Sydneysiders hitting the Highlands for a weekend escape. The foot traffic here definitely amps up during the winter season—the cosy interior is quintessential country pub.

The food game is pretty unmatched with a long line-up of essential pub plates and a perfect Sunday roast to enjoy out on the lawn. It's a nice drive from Bowral, or you can stay the night in one of eight comfy queen rooms.

The Sir George

Jugiong

best country pubs nsw the sir george jugiong
Image credit: The Sir George | Instagram

A bar, a restaurant, a cafe, an artisan bakery, accommodation and a homewares store—there’s a lot going on at The Sir George, which was built in 1852. All you need to know is that no matter what time of the year you hit this country pub up, the beer is always cold, the wine list handpicked, and the cider always crisp.

You can knock back a couple of frothies at The Pheasant (the front bar), or delve in deeper to the ladies lounge or whisky lounge. The menu covers off all sorts of feeds, like coal-grilled peppers with stracciatella and white anchovies, free-range half-chickens with tomato fondue and basil, and pub staples like a ripping parmi.

As for the attached bakery, brace yourself for the most famous sourdough in the region, doughnuts filled with jam, vanilla custard and Nutella, and an ever-changing selection of baked treats.

The Friendly Inn

Kangaroo Valley

best country pubs nsw the friendly inn kangaroo valley
Image credit: The Friendly Inn | Website

The Friendly Inn is one of the oldest pubs in NSW, and boasts solid views of the Kangaroo Valley with a menu of top-notch favourites like seafood platters, hefty steaks, and crunchy schnitzels.

There’s a lot to explore here, including a family bistro with soft shell crab burgers, an open-air beer garden with lots of green space, a bottle shop, and a full-service public bar open seven glorious days a week.

Now check out

Main image credit: Destination NSW | Jem Cresswell

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