15 Best Pubs Adelaide Has To Offer In 2024
— Updated on 29 December 2023

15 Best Pubs Adelaide Has To Offer In 2024

— Updated on 29 December 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

While wine and cheese may have come to define Adelaide to outsiders, the famously walkable city wouldn’t be the same without its generous spread of classic Australian pubs in old terrace houses. With plenty of country-style watering holes spread across the city, you’ve got plenty of choices when deciding on the best pubs Adelaide has to offer so you can put together a banging list for that quintessential South Australian pub crawl.

From The Cranker and The Wheaty to The Exeter and The Stag, there are numerous heritage pubs that populate Adelaide CBD and Adelaide Hills, often connecting these two areas and giving locals yet another thing to be immensely proud of.

To help you zone in on the best, we’ve rounded up the best pubs Adelaide has to offer so you know exactly where to go as soon as you land, whether that’s in North Adelaide, East End or Adelaide Hills.

RELATED: 12 Best Country Pubs In South Australia

The Crown And Anchor Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Credit: The Crown And Anchor Hotel, Instagram

The Crown and Anchor Hotel, better known as the Cranker, is the ultimate pub on Grenfall Street and is often the first, or last, stop on any tour of the best pubs in Adelaide. And while your ‘greatest hits’ pub crawl around Adelaide CBD will undoubtedly pop by some neighbouring heritage charmers, you’re unlikely to find much as memorable as The Cranker.

It’s the quintessential Adelaide pub in many ways, making the most of its tight spaces by squeezing in live music six days a week and a Tuesday comedy night while elevating that constant buzz with offerings like an old-school pinball machine.

The best night to head along to The Cranker is definitely on a Wednesday night, with some local live music and $3 schooners to help it all go down.

Address: 196 Grenfell St, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8223 3212
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday (12 pm – 3 pm); Sunday (2 pm – 12 am)

The Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Credit: The Grace Emily Hotel, Instagram

Much like several other venues on this list of the best pubs in Adelaide, The Grace Emily Hotel hinges most of its identity on live music. South Australia has always had a passionate grassroots approach to music, so pub gigs and a schooner of Coopers almost always take precedence over pub grub and a long list of craft beer.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find here. There’s no extensive selection of craft beer and not much food to speak of. Just beer and live music in a historic old pub. And really, that’s what you need if you’re crawling around Adelaide on a weekend.

The live music scene at The Grace Emily Hotel is so strong that the pub was even inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame just a few years ago, validating what ex-musician George Swallow built when he founded the pub with Symon Jarowyj.

Address: 232 Waymouth St, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8231 5500
Opening Hours: Monday (4 pm – 1 am); Tuesday (4 pm – 9 pm); Wednesday – Friday (4 pm – 1 am); Saturday (6 pm – 1 am)

The Stag Public House, Adelaide CBD

Credit: The Stag Public House, Instagram

The Stag Public House is another one of those legendary Adelaide pubs that have only gotten better with age, having been around since 1849 and most recently experiencing somewhat of a renaissance thanks to current owners The Big Easy Group.

Caked with nostalgia, the stalwart boozer fits nicely into its prime position on the corner of Rundle Street and East Terrace and doubles as a decent place to get a feed as well, with a kitchen pumping out elevated pub classics like a wagyu cheeseburger and Bowden Brewing Co beer-battered fish and chips.

Although some may scream gentrification at the more recent changes to The Stag, it’s hard to deny the solid effort The Big Easy Group have made to save this local pub, complementing that locally-minded beer list with a wine list that highlights the best parts of South Australia. Adelaide’s East End wouldn’t be the same without it.

Address: 299 Rundle St, Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 0478 557 824
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday (12 pm – 12 am); Thursday – Sunday (12 pm – 2 am)

Earl of Leicester Hotel, Parkside

Adelaide has plenty of historic pubs with each adding something distinctive to the city’s social scene, but very few have as much character as the crowd-pleasing Earl of Leicester Hotel. Yes, the RSL-esque carpet is still horrendous but there’s enough here to keep Earl of Leicester feeling like the perfect old-time pub.

Often touted by interstate visitors as the most memorable part of their time in the South Australian capital, the local pub manages to stay true to its heritage 1980s bones while still offering up modern comforts alongside delicious pub fare, a great variety of beers and a showcase of the state’s finest boutique wines.

The best way to play here is almost always via one of those hearty 600 gram schnitzels paired up with any one of the locally brewed beers on tap.

Address: 85 Leicester St, Parkside SA 5063
Contact: (08) 8271 5700
Opening Hours: Monday (5 pm – 9 pm); Tuesday – Sunday (12 pm – 3 pm, 5 pm – 9 pm)

The Exeter Hotel, Exeter

Credit: The Exeter Hotel, Instagram

No round-up of Adelaide’s best pubs should be taken seriously if it doesn’t have The Exeter Hotel on it. This local institution hasn’t really received an upgrade since the late 1920s, presenting as somewhat of a time capsule that feels like it’s a world away from Adelaide’s East End precinct each time you step inside to tuck into a Coopers and some delicious pub grub.

Wednesday Curry Night is the best time to go, but really any night will see this fiercely proud Australian pub absolutely pumping with local bands while everyone shifts between the main bar and the spacious beer garden.

Address: 152 Semaphore Rd, Exeter SA 5019
Contact: (08) 8449 6716
Opening Hours: Sunday – Friday (8 am – 2 am); Saturday (8 am – 12 am)

The Cumberland Arms Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Credit: The Cumby, Instagram

Known to locals as The Cumby, this charming pub is yet another strong case for Adelaide having some of the best heritage drinking holes in the country. So beloved this local institution is that even a modern refresh with an upmarket bistro and beer garden hasn’t dulled the appeal for regulars who have been frequenting the pub for decades.

It’s unlikely The Cumby will ever fall out of favour, despite strong competition in the area and plenty of options for both locals and visitors looking for the best pubs in Adelaide. The beer garden is perhaps the biggest reason for this, often touted as the single best place to drink in Adelaide’s CBD.

Address: 205 Waymouth St, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8231 3577
Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday (12 pm – 10:30 pm); Thursday (12 pm – 11 pm); Friday (12 pm – 1:30 am); Saturday (12 pm – 3 am)

Elephant & Castle Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Credit: Elephant & Castle, Instagram

Elephant & Castle is another iconic East End pub that locals could never get enough of, and often one of the first ports of call for anyone taking their out-of-town mates out for a drink.

Standing on the West Terrace, Elephant & Castle is equally as well known for its curated list of mostly premium back vintage reds as it is its food, powered by some of South Australia’s finest produce. The steaks here are legendary and a big reason why this local favourite has remained such an institution throughout the years.

Not only one of the best pubs in Adelaide, Elephant & Castle also hosts one of the best steak restaurants in Adelaide.

Address: 179 West Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8231 9023
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday (9 am – 12 am); Sunday (9 am – 9 pm)

The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton

Credit: The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Instagram

Mostly thanks to an onsite brewery and a small army of food trucks, The Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton has become quite the destination for Adelaide locals and a kinetic hub of culture spurring numerous weekly events like live music, poetry and local wine tastings.

And while The Wheaty may be best known for its own beers, there’s an extensive list of interesting imports as well as boutique spirits to give you a bit of variety while those live music acts provide the soundtrack to a good night out.

Address: 39 George St, Thebarton SA 5031
Contact: (08) 8443 4546
Opening Hours: Monday (3 pm – 10 pm); Wednesday – Thursday (3pm – 10 pm); Friday (3 pm – 11 pm); Saturday (2 pm – 11 pm)

Port Admiral Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Piercing the heart of Port Adelaide, this landmark pub carves out the area’s oldest existing building, presenting an atmospheric watering hold that dates back to 1849. And much of it’s been undisturbed throughout the years, balancing a nice slice of modernity with the pub’s heritage charm so not much about the no-fuss drinking hole is diluted across the front bar, saloon, beer garden, outdoor terrace and bottle shop.

Address: 55 Commercial Rd, Port Adelaide SA 5015
Contact: (08) 8341 2249
Opening Hours: Tuesday (4 pm – 9:30 pm); Wednesday – Thursday (4 pm – 10 pm); Friday – Saturday (12 pm – 12 am); Sunday (12 pm – 4 pm)

Stanley Bridge Tavern, Verdun

Credit: Stanley Bridge Tavern, Instagram

A must if you’re in the area and looking to down some local beers by the fireplace, Stanley Bridge Tavern skews more family-friendly and feels like a nice little escape from Adelaide CBD.

Of course, that’s because it is an escape from Adelaide CBD. Unless you’re looking at a wider road trip around the Adelaide Hills, there aren’t many reasons visitors would choose to land in Verdun, especially with the European charm of Hahndorf so close by. That’s a mistake, of course. Not heading out here would mean you miss spending time stretching out in Stanley Bridge Tavern, soaking up its old-world atmosphere with a great selection of local beer, fine wine and classic pub grub.

Address: 41 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Verdun SA 5245
Contact: (08) 8388 7249
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (11 am – 10 pm); Friday – Saturday (11 am – 11 pm); Sunday (11 am – 10 pm)

The Scenic, Norton

A beautiful country pub just off Old Norton Road in the Adelaide Hills, The Scenic gets its name from immaculate views looking back over the city paired with traditional pub fare and a long list of craft beers.

You’ll usually find plenty of the city’s most keen cyclists using The Scenic as a rest-stop, but locals have long known that The Scenic is one of the best reasons to make the short drive out of the city and settle down for a weekend celebration of Adelaide’s craft across beers, food, wine and spirits.

Given the opening hours have this pub closing shop early – even on weekends – The Scenic is usually used for first drinks before hopping across to one of the many Adelaide Hills pubs or distilleries.

Address: Norton Summit SA 5136
Contact: (08) 7320 1610
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Thursday (4pm – 8:30 pm); Friday – Sunday (12 pm – 8:30 pm); Sunday (12 pm – 7:30 pm)

The Archer, North Adelaide

Credit: The Archer, Instagram

You’ll find The Archer in North Adelaide, just a short walk from Adelaide Oval. Most come here for the beer garden after following a big game, which is even more welcoming after a 2019 refurbishment gave this fan-favourite pub a considerably polished new lease on life.

Out of all the many pubs in Adelaide, it’s The Archer which seems to be one of the most consistent when it comes to classic pub food, offering up a nice range of dishes anchored on local produce best paired with a healthy selection of local beers and South Australian wines.

Saturday nights are usually the best time to head along, following up a big meal in the atrium eating area with a long session in the huge beer garden, where many stay right up until close.

Address: 60 O’Connell St, North Adelaide SA 5006
Contact: (08) 8361 7223
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday (11:30 am – 9 pm); Thursday (11:30 am – 10 pm); Friday (11:30 am – 12 am); Saturday (11:30 am – 1 am)

The Norwood Hotel, Norwood

Credit: Norwood Hotel, Instagram

Smack bang in the heart of Adelaide’s Norwood, this is the best Irish pub in Adelaide. Not that there are many Irish pubs in Adelaide, but there’s something about The Norwood Hotel that perfectly captures the feeling of taking a detour off the streets of Dublin and stumbling upon a local favourite drinking hole that punters would want to keep secret from tourists.

Address: 97 The Parade, Norwood SA 5067
Contact: (08) 8431 1822
Opening Hours: Sunday – Tuesday (11 am – 9:30 pm); Wednesday – Thursday (11 am – 10 pm); Friday (11 am – 2 am); Saturday (11 am -1 am)

The Austral Hotel, Adelaide CBD

Posted up on Rundle Street, The Austral is another heritage gem that helps define Adelaide’s cityscape – a constant beacon of good times and classic pub meals. You’ve got plenty of choices around this area when you’re looking for the best pubs in Adelaide, but no pub crawl is really complete without spending a few hours lapping up the best of The Austral Hotel, from the straightforward beer list full of classics to the quintessential pub fare.

Address: 205 Rundle St, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8310 0210
Opening Hours: Sunday – Monday (12 pm – 10 pm); Tuesday – Wednesday (12 pm – 12 am); Thursday (12 pm – 1 am); Friday – Saturday (12 pm – 3 am)

The Hotel Metropolitan, Adelaide CBD

Better known to locals as The Metro, this is one of the very best pubs Adelaide has. And it’s been that way ever since the building was first built in 1883, propping up a fantastic heritage profile that defines The Hotel Metropolitan and its charming offering.

The Metro has often been seen as a proving ground for Adelaide’s best musicians before they blow into national recognition. As such, the time-honoured band room is often the busiest space in this historic pub, focusing all the noise in one area while those in for a quiet catch-up can pull up a stool at the bar or settle down in one of two outdoor areas.

Aside from its importance to Adelaide’s live music scene, The Metro also offers 26 pub-style rooms for anyone wanting to make a night of it. But don’t go in expecting anything but ultra-budget accommodation; with rates starting at $60 a night, locals know The Metro as an easy win for anyone wanting to avoid the drunken uber ride home.

Address: 46 Grote St, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact: (08) 8231 5471

Best Pubs Adelaide – Frequently Asked Questions

How many pubs are there in Adelaide CBD?

There are well over 70 pubs in and around Adelaide CBD, mostly housed in the city’s many terraces.

What are the best pubs in Adelaide?

The best pubs in Adelaide include The Exeter, The Cumby, The Wheaty, The Scenic and The Staf Public House.

Where are some good pubs outside of Adelaide CBD?

If you want to head out of Adelaide CBD and check out some great pubs then head along to Adelaide Hills, and make sure you start at The Scenic.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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