The Best Pubs in Cairns, Queensland

Enjoy your beer with a side of sunset in Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Enjoy your beer with a side of sunset in Cairns, Queensland, Australia | © Helena Lopes / Unsplash
Photo of Kylie McDowell
10 December 2020

When you feel like classic Aussie pub grub and an ice-cold beer in the sun, Cairns never disappoints. From heritage properties to modern brewhouses, there’s no shortage of choices. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best.

Hemingway's Brewery

Pub, Australian, $$$
Map View

For the modern beer lover, this brewpub on Cairns Wharf is the place to be. Housed in a converted 1915 sugar storage shed, it has a huge open-plan venue with exposed beams and towering ceilings and overlooks the water. The independent Hemingway’s Brewery serves up its own craft beers – which are made on-site – as well as burgers, tacos, pizzas and seafood.

Dunwoody's Tavern

Pub, Australian, $$$
Map View

A family-favourite since it opened in 1992, Dunwoody’s Tavern is the place to take the kids. Let the little ones shout, scream and use up their energy on the indoor and outdoor playgrounds. Adults can do the same at the sports bar or gaming centre. On the menu, you’ll find woodfire pizza, seasonal specials, seafood and pub classics. Don’t want the fun to stop? Stay for live entertainment or the weekly pub quiz.

Grafton Hotel

Pub, Australian
Map View

This historic building in the outer-suburbs town of Edmonton was built in 1910 before a cyclone destroyed it in 1927. Today, the repaired heritage property has indoor and outdoor dining areas in which to enjoy a menu of pub classics. It serves five beers on taps, premium wines and the stronger stuff. Sports lovers can get their fix ogling the five big screens.

Grand Hotel

Pub, Australian
Map View

Going big with a crocodile theme, even their wooden bar has been crafted into the shape of a giant snapping reptile. Opened in 1926, this traditional boozer has all the offerings you’d expect: live music, sports on big screens and a classic Aussie bistro menu. It also serves “the biggest parma in Cairns”, weighing in at 2kg (4.5lbs). If you do decide to tackle it, keep the rest of the day free.

Cock & Bull

Pub, Australian, $$$
Map View

English tavern meets Australian country pub at the Cock & Bull, where timber interiors are lined with taxidermy and kitsch decor. It has two kitchens, two bars, a beer garden and sports playing on large screens. Owned by a local family and opened in 1988, it serves hearty plates of traditional Aussie pub grub for lunch and dinner. You won’t go hungry.

PJ O'Brien's Irish Pub

Pub, Irish, Australian, $$$
Map View

Grab a pint of Guinness, and watch the footy at this Irish-themed pub at the Cairns city mall. Great for backpackers – but shouldn’t be ignored by locals either – PJ O’Brien’s serves up budget-friendly Irish-style pub food and other classics such as burgers and schnitzel. There’s live music at the weekend, karaoke nights and trivia on Tuesdays. It opens for lunch and dinner from midday until late.

These recommendations were updated on December 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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