So you’re in Adelaide and are looking for somewhere to enjoy a good beer or pub meal – where should you go? Let me tell you right now, North Adelaide is just the place to be.
The suburb, located within walking distance from the CBD, is packed full of historic hotels – each of them boasting their own unique charm that makes them well-worth a visit.
Having lived in North Adelaide for over a year, I frequented each of these local watering holes regularly during my university days, so I can say with confidence that this review comes from first-hand experience.
Here are the 11 North Adelaide pubs you have to visit while in Adelaide.
Situated on the corner of Barton Terrace and O’Connell Street, The Cally, as it is often referred to, is a small boutique hotel offering a wide range of food options and plenty of beer, spirits and wine choices too.
Food and drink
The Caledonian’s daily beer and wine happy hour from 4pm-6pm is very popular for those angling for some after work knock-off drinks, and there is plenty of free parking nearby that makes the venue easily accessible.
For food, you can order from Bartons Restaurant or The Cally Bar and Grill.
Restaurant items include standard pub classics, such as schnitzels and salt and pepper squid, and there’s also some high-end options such as including scotch fillet, rump, rib-eye and porterhouse steaks that will set you back anywhere from $27 to $45
The Caledonian also has some signature pasta dishes, which will cost you a little bit more (usually in the $35 to $50 range) but are well worth it.
The Caledonian hires rooms out for functions, such as 21st or 30th birthdays, and also has 20 gaming machines and an undercover beer garden, perfect for enjoying relaxing with friends.
Different rooms can be booked for cocktail functions, engagements, weddings, christenings, and also seminars and conferences as well.
During my first year of university I lived on Ward Terrace at Lincoln College residential college, located just off O’Connell Street, and on Thursday nights we used to visit The Oxford for ‘pub night’.
Some of the memories I have of this venue will stay with me forever, and I always look back on my time at ‘The Ox’ very fondly.
However, the pub has somewhat changed since I was at university 10 years ago.
These days, The Oxford is buzzing with an artistic energy, and prides itself on providing creative and diverse dining options for its visitors.
It really has turned itself into a cool, arty, trendy venue – more so than it was a decade ago.
Food and Drink
If you’re after a drink, The Oxford has plenty of options on tap and has an ever-changing cocktail list with its own in-house sommelier constantly “sniffing out the good stuff”.
Its food menu caters for all, with standard pub grub from the grill costing you up to $35, and burgers and other Aussie staple meals – such as schnitzels – not costing you an arm and a leg.
There are also vegetarian and vegan options available.
Most importantly, The Oxford has a range of specials for every night of the week.
Monday is Burger Night, where you can get a burger and house drink for $20; Tuesday is Quiz Night and 50c chicken wings; Wednesday is $20 Schnitzel Night, which also gets you a house drink; Thursday is $20 Curry Night; while $12 Martini Fridays is a great way to kick off the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday has all-day DJs, making The Ox a great venue if you’re looking to kick-on into the night.
The Oxford has two levels.
Upstairs can be booked for private events, such as 18th or 21st birthday parties, while downstairs is a place for the general public, and is where you can drop in and mingle with friends (or make new ones!).
After closing down in November 2018, The Archer has since reopened its doors under new ownership and is once again offering a fantastic venue for those visiting North Adelaide.
The historic pub is one of the most visually aesthetic venues on O’Connell Street, with its old heritage feel and charm evident without even walking in the door.
The new owners have refocused on all the things that make a great pub – that is, good mainstream and affordable beer and food, in an effort to target South Australia’s passionate football and cricket followers who often frequent North Adelaide before venturing to Adelaide Oval to watch the Adelaide Crows, Port Adelaide Power, or Adelaide Strikers play.
Food and Drink
The Archer has over 10 beers on tap, and the upstairs cocktail bar (when it’s not being hired out) features some fantastic drink options and arguably the best balcony in North Adelaide, with a great view over the bustling O’Connell Street.
You’ll also find more on-tap selections in the downstairs beer garden, which is a great place to be during spring and summer time.
The Archer has all the classic pub staple meals you would expect (burgers, schnitzels, salt and pepper squid) plus some of its own unique menu items including The Archer Cheeseburger, the 60s Salad, and The Archer AB.
Like many other North Adelaide pubs, The Archer can be hired for private functions.
The layout of the hotel certainly lends itself to this, as there are five spaces available across two separate levels, accommodating between 20 and 300-plus people.
When I think of The Welly, I think tasty beers and, above all else, huge delicious schnitzels coated in a variety of amazing toppings.
Located on North Adelaide’s Wellington Square, hence the name, this pub is home to some of the biggest and best beef and chicken ‘snitters’ in Adelaide.
The Wellington has everything you could want in a South Australian hotel.
It’s got a ripper sports bar showing footy, cricket, and racing, TAB and pokies facilities, and a lengthy open bar area in which to share a beer or wine with friends on any day of the week.
Food and Drink
Some of the popular menu items include The Welly Burger, which you can get for an affordable $19.50, their trademark schnitzel and also a handful of vegetarian and vegan options.
Once of the best specials at The Wellington is South Australia through and through – that is, you can purchase West End beer pints for just $5 all day, every day. Amazing.
If you don’t like West End, don’t worry – there are 14 other beers on tap, plus and extensive wine and cocktails list to choose from.
Similarly, there are plenty of other deals that make The Wellington stand out from other North Adelaide pubs.
Monday is $20 seafood, Tuesday is $15 curry, Wednesday is $19 steak, and Thursday is $20 pint and parmy (my personal favourite).
Families will also be glad to know that children under age 12 eat for free (yes, for FREE) at The Wellington on Sundays.
There are three areas at The Wellington that can be hired out for private functions. These include the Front Lounge, the Sports Bar, and the Atrium.
The Front lounge has a great view of Wellington Square and is perfect for cocktail parties and smaller gatherings, the Sports Bar is also suited for groups of up to 70 people, while the Atrium is located at the rear of the pub and is a beautiful space that can accommodate up to 120 people.
The Queen’s Head
Located on Kermode Street, only a short walk from Adelaide Oval, The Queen’s Head is a popular venue for those looking for a quick drink before heading to the footy or cricket, and is also the watering hole for university students staying at St Mark’s residential college next door.
Established in 1838, The Queen’s Head is a quaint little venue where you can enjoy a few casual beers with mates before a night out in the city, or after a long day at work, and is a fantastic place to share a meal with family and friends.
The inside layout of the pub is cosy and extends out into a tidy beer garden, which gets plenty of use during the spring and summer months.
Personally, I think The Queen’s Head is one of the hidden treasures of the North Adelaide pub scene.
Food and Drink
The Queen’s Head does all your standard pub meals including burgers, large share plates and also wood oven pizzas, which are extremely popular.
Similarly, there are some great daily specials that will suit everyone’s palette.
Monday is $20 Squid and Sav, Tuesday is $15 burgers, Wednesday is $15 wood oven pizzas, Thursday is $20 Fish and Fiano, and Friday is $29 Steak and Shiraz.
To kick off the weekend, Gin Garden Fridays is the best way to go with $12 gin cocktails available from 6pm-midnight, while those keen for a Sunday session can head along to Spritzer Sundays and enjoy $8 aperol glasses and live music between 3pm and 5pm.
The Queen’s Head has four separate areas to cater for both social or corporate events.
The Gallery is suitable for a sit-down event for 35 people and a stand-up function of 75 people, and includes two TVs with USB and iPod connections, a private bar and fixed couch area.
The Restaurant area can be hired out for lunch or dinner from Monday through to Sunday, but requires a minimum attendance number (it can fit 55 people).
The Courtyard can accommodate between 55 and 75 guests, and is available Monday-Saturday until midnight, and till 8pm on Sundays.
It has a private bar and an open gas fireplace.
Lastly, The Fig Garden can be hired until 8pm daily, due to licencing laws, and can fit between 55 and 100 guests.
No music can be played due to legislative restrictions.
Located on Finniss Street since 1838, adjacent North Adelaide’s popular Melbourne Street, The British has a look and feel that’s straight out of the United Kingdom.
Its red brick exterior and courtyard really could see The British slip straight into a London street just off of Trafalgar Square, while its beer garden and saloon bar add some extra warmth and charm.
The British prides itself on serving some of the finest pub grub in all of North Adelaide.
With premium areas both indoors and outdoors, the hotel has an authentic, genuine ambience and is certainly a great place to stop in for a beer or wine with friends, or to enjoy a meal.
Food and Drink
Unlike a lot of other North Adelaide pubs, The British doesn’t have any set daily specials, which does go against it when compared to a lot of other local venues.
That said, the food and drink menus still have some great options.
The Main Event menu has items such as Grilled SA King Prawns, Chargrilled Kangaroo Fillet, Sage and Parmesan Polenta Pork Cutlets, plus a range of other delicious chargrill options.
There’s also your pub classics including The British Burger and beef and chicken schnitzels.
If you’re a wine drinker, then there’s few other better North Adelaide pubs than The British. It has over 100 fantastic wines available to choose from, including from some of the leading wineries South Australia has to offer.
There’s also a great range of beers on tap.
The British has multiple options for those seeking somewhere to host a function.
The First Floor private rooms are located upstairs and are completely private. The area includes an intimate lounge with a fully functional bar, and an adjacent grand ballroom able to be used either individually or together.
The Middle Bar Lounge is on the ground floor and boasts a semi-private area with a plasma screen, and is ideal for intimate functions for up to 40 guests.
Meanwhile, The Courtyard is perfect for up to 175 people and takes in The British’s beer garden, while the Atrium offers the ultimate intimate experience for up to 20 visitors.
If you asked Adelaidians to name one of the first North Adelaide pubs that comes to mind, there’s a fair chance they would say The Lion.
Located on the ever-popular Melbourne Street, The Lion was built in 1871 and was originally known for producing quality specially-crafted beer.
These days, it seamlessly blends contemporary architecture with the heritage fabric of the building to deliver an experience that visitors know and love.
As a winner of the Best Hotel, Best Restaurant and Best Functions for the Hotel Industry Awards for Excellence in 2019, it’s no surprise The Lion is truly a high-quality venue.
Food and Drink
The Lion has plenty of excellent daily meal and drinks deals.
Monday is $24 Sirloin and Shiraz, Tuesday is $20 Fish and Chips, Wednesday is Ribs and Wings with $16 Coopers jugs, Thursday is $12 Classic Snitty, while Friday offers Espresso Martinis for $12 to start your weekend off right.
Saturday and Sunday also has some attractive drinks specials, including $20 Pimms jugs all day on Saturday, and $6 Session Ale pints, and $16 Superdry and Hills Cider jugs on Sundays.
There’s also some great drinks options from its gin, wine and cocktail bar, while its food menu won’t cost you an arm and a leg and features all your pub classics.
The Lion has six function rooms to choose from when looking to host a private event.
The Cellar hosts between 80 and 100 people and has been stunningly renovated to include enough glitz and glam to be suitable for weddings or cocktail parties.
The Jernigham room is simply stunning and elegant, and is the hotel’s largest space – capable of accommodating up to 180 guests. It also has its own private bar and entry.
The other standout space is the Tunnels, which is arguably the most unique area in North Adelaide. Literally made from two underground tunnels that are intersected by a private bar, it is a great place for a party for up to 180 people.
Other areas include Tower, Vine and Melbourne, which are suitable for smaller, more intimate gatherings.
Positioned at the eastern end of Melbourne Street, the Lord Melbourne – formerly known as Tavern 63 – is one of the most well-known North Adelaide pubs.
Billing itself as “everyone’s pub”, the Lord Melbourne is a city hotel with a country feel.
Like all good pubs, it has hearty food, plenty of beers on tap and some great happy hour prices between 4pm and 6pm from Monday to Friday.
Similarly, the Lord Melbourne has live entertainment on Friday nights with karaoke from 9pm till 1am, and live bands on Sundays from 2pm till 6pm.
Food and Drink
The Lord Melbourne has some great eating specials – Tuesday is Schnitzel Day for just $9.90, Thursday is Steak Day where you can get a rum for $12 and a T-bone $14, and Friday is $14 Porterhouse Day.
For wine lovers, there are over 40 wines available by the glass, and beer drinkers can grab a West End pint for $7 every day.
The Lord Melbourne has three spaces you can hire, with no room charge or minimum spend necessary.
Room 63 is perfect for any occasion and has an iPod dock to crank your own tunes, and caters for up to 100 people.
The Lords Room overlooks the outdoor grassed area and can comfortably fit between 80-130 guests, while the Beer Garden is perfect for an outdoor lunch, dinner or cocktail party and can accommodate between 40-100 people.
The Kentish Arms
The Kentish was built in the early 1881 and refurbished and is hidden away on North Adelaide’s leafy green Stanley Street.
The hotel was refurbished a few years ago, and the upbeat, modern atmosphere reflects that.
Like many other classic North Adelaide pubs, The Kentish is a great place to sit back, relax, share good bottle of wine, enjoy a beer, and get stuck into a tasty meal.
Food and Drink
The Kentish has some great specials on during the winter and summer – the $58 Winter Warmers option lets you choose between any two main meals, and a bottle of wine to share.
Additionally, Monday is Rump and Red Night, where you can get a steak 300g grain-fed rump for $22, plus a glass of Kentish wine.
Trivia Tuesdays are great fun and give you a 2-for-1 meal deal, on Wednesdays you can get a Shank and Shiraz for $22, while Thursdays offer you Pasta and Pinot for $22.
To kick-start the weekends , The Kentish has $12 cocktails and $10 premium gins on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm till close.
There’s also happy hour weeknights from 4pm-6pm and 3pm-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Kentish can be hired out for private venues as it boasts a large and unique alfresco function space, and a recently renovated wine shed that can hold up to 150 people for cocktail parties, engagements, weddings, birthdays, and also conferences.
For small events, you can also make use of the outdoor beer garden, or hire out some of the smaller dining rooms.
Simply put, there is no no better place to enjoy a drink before attending an Adelaide Oval event – whether it be the cricket or the footy – than at The Cathedral hotel on Kermode Street.
The Cathedral is a heritage-listed venue only a short walk from Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Zoo, The Memorial Hospital, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, St Mark’s residential college and also the stunning St Peter’s cathedral.
The hotel was established in 1860, but has been refurbished to still incorporate its historic features and heritage feel.
Food and Drink
The Cathedral puts a premium on using local produce and that is evident through its menu, with the $15 lunch specials being a highlight.
Whether you’re looking to share a tapas plate, get stuck into a juicy steak, grab a beer and burger, a pizza or a classic classic schnitzel, The Cathedral has you covered for some pretty good prices.
Some other specials include 1kg wings and two pints for $20 on Tuesdays from 5pm-9pm, $22 Pint and Parmi on Wednesdays from 5pm-9pm, and $28 Steak Pie and Stout every day.
The Cathedral has over 80 wines to choose from, 10 beers on tap, and an assortment of other bottled craft beer to give you plenty of options.
There’s also some elaborate cocktails, Espresso martinis, and Sangria and Spritz’s to treat yourself to.
The Cathedral has an impressive seven different spaces to hire for private occasions.
The newly-renovated Heritage Room is located on the first floor and offers a stylish, contained space for up to 110 people, with access to a large balcony that boasts glamourous views of St Peter’s Cathedral and Adelaide Oval.
The Balcony Bar has similar views, and is perfect for cocktail-style events for up to 70 guests.
The Torrens Room was built in the past couple of years and offers a flexible, warm space that has its own bar and high-tech digital interface for use. This is one of the biggest rooms and accommodates up to 130 people.
Lastly, the Rooftop Bar, The Good Samaritan Room, the Annex and the Main Bar, which has a gorgeous, long marble-top bar, are also available for hire.
The Royal Oak
The Royal Oak is a great little venue, but don’t let its small-town charm fool you – this is a bustling pub with so many great deals and offers that make it such a fantastic place to visit.
The hotel is a well-known supporter of local musicians and has live music right throughout the week, with Jam Night – held on the first Tuesday of the month – well worth a visit.
Similarly, it has plenty of live sport playing on a number of screens, making it a venue that caters for people with many different interests.
The atmosphere in The Royal Oak’s new beer garden is always buzzing, and is a great place to enjoy the sunshine and some of the hotel’s unique craft beers, among some of its other popular beverages.
Food and Drink
The popular Two-Up Tuesdays gives you 2-for-1 meals, while you can upgrade to an Imperial Pint for just one extra dollar at any time.
Similarly, there are $6 base spirits from 5pm till close every weekend, $15 rump steaks every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and weekend pints for just $6 from midday-5pm.
Meat Free Mondays sees The Royal Oak charge half price for its vegan menu, while on Thursdays you can grab a burger and a pint of craft beer for $20.
The Royal Oak has less options when it comes to hiring out spaces for private functions, with just its outdoor beer garden and main bar area available.
Nevertheless, these areas can both hold up to 75 guests, and The Royal Oak prides itself on being flexible and able to cater for most needs.
Birthdays, wedding receptions, engagements, farewells and end of year work parties have all been held at the hotel previously.