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The 12 Oldest Pubs in Melbourne

19/05/2024
4 mins read
Source: Young and Jackson

When it comes to sipping a pint in Melbourne, there’s no better place than one of the city’s historic pubs. These venerable establishments offer a glimpse into Melbourne’s past, combining rich history with the timeless appeal of a good beer. Here’s a tour of Melbourne’s oldest watering holes, in order from the very oldest.

The Duke of Wellington

As Melbourne’s oldest licensed pub, the Duke of Wellington has been a cornerstone of the city’s social life since 1853. Originally designed by Richard Dalton for local businessman and carpenter Timothy Lane, this iconic pub began its life as a boarding house in 1850 before securing its liquor license a few years later.

Over the decades, the Duke of Wellington has evolved from a humble establishment to a bustling hub, undergoing major renovations in 2006 and reopening in 2013 with a fresh look while retaining its historic charm.

Builders Arms Hotel

The Builders Arms Hotel, established in 1853, stands as a testament to Melbourne’s vibrant pub culture. Historically significant for its inclusive policy towards First Nations people, this pub has been a community cornerstone since its inception.

Co-owned by renowned chef Andrew McConnell, the Builders Arms Hotel now offers a variety of meals that draw both locals and tourists. The pub’s long history and commitment to inclusivity make it a beloved spot in Fitzroy.

The Laurel Hotel

Established in 1853, The Laurel Hotel has seen Melbourne grow and change around it. This pub underwent significant renovations in 1989, transforming it into a modern venue while maintaining its historical roots.

The Laurel Hotel is known for its live music and sports viewing, offering a vibrant atmosphere for patrons. Its rich history and modern amenities make it a unique spot for a night out.

Mitre Tavern

Established in 1868, the Mitre Tavern is one of Melbourne’s most historic pubs, located in the heart of the financial district at 5 Bank Place. Originally built as a private residence, it was licensed as a tavern by its first publican, Henry Thompson. Over the years, it has served as a meeting spot for the city’s horseracing and hunting fraternities, and later, the Victorian Polo Club.

The Mitre Tavern’s medieval appearance dates from renovations in the 1920s, and it is said to be haunted by the ghost of Connie Waugh, the mistress of Sir Rupert Clarke. Despite plans for its demolition in the 1930s, the tavern was preserved and remains a beloved spot for business people and locals alike.

Young & Jackson

Young & Jackson, established in 1861, is famed for the ‘Chloe’ painting that has become a cultural icon in Melbourne. This pub has been a staple in the city for over a century, offering a wide selection of craft beers and a lively atmosphere.

Located at the bustling corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Young & Jackson provides a unique blend of history and contemporary pub culture, making it a must-visit for both locals and tourists.

Captain Melville

Captain Melville, established in 1853, has a history spanning over 150 years. Named after a notorious bushranger, this pub has evolved from a rough-and-tumble watering hole to a beloved spot for drinks and classic pub meals.

The pub’s rich history is reflected in its charming interiors and warm hospitality. Today, Captain Melville continues to be a favorite among Melbourne’s pub-goers.

Labour in Vain

Labour in Vain, established in 1853, is known for its live music and charming historical atmosphere. This Fitzroy pub has retained its old-world charm while offering a cozy space for patrons to enjoy a drink.

The upstairs beer garden and regular live music events make Labour in Vain a vibrant spot for both locals and visitors. Its enduring appeal lies in its blend of history and contemporary culture.

The Railway Hotel

Established in 1889, The Railway Hotel boasts a rich history and a vibrant atmosphere. Located on Chapel Street in Windsor, this pub offers live music, a rooftop bar, and classic pub meals.

The Railway Hotel’s historical charm and modern amenities make it a popular spot for a night out. Its blend of old and new ensures a unique experience for patrons.

The Lincoln

The Lincoln, established in 1854, is known for its historic charm and warm hospitality. Located in Carlton, this pub serves traditional pub fare with a contemporary twist, offering a unique dining experience.

The pub’s history is evident in its charming interiors and welcoming atmosphere. The Lincoln continues to be a favorite among locals for its blend of history and modernity.

The Imperial Hotel

Established in 1863, The Imperial Hotel features a rooftop bar with stunning city views and a lively atmosphere. This pub has been a mainstay in Melbourne’s social scene for over a century.

The Imperial Hotel’s combination of historical significance and modern amenities makes it a unique spot for a drink. Its rooftop bar is particularly popular for its panoramic views of the city.

The Cricketers Bar

The Cricketers Bar, established in 1853, is located within the historic Hotel Windsor. This bar exudes old-world charm and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its cozy atmosphere and rich history.

The bar’s connection to the iconic Hotel Windsor adds to its allure, offering patrons a glimpse into Melbourne’s past while enjoying a drink in a historic setting.

The Court House Hotel

Established in 1863, once known as The Peacock, The Court House Hotel offers a cozy environment, great food, and a wide selection of beers and wines. Located in North Melbourne, this pub has been a community favorite for over a century.

The Court House Hotel’s historic charm and inviting atmosphere make it a perfect spot for a casual drink or meal. Its long-standing presence in the community is a testament to its enduring appeal.

Justin Ng

Hi, I’m Justin, I’m passionate about photography, love being outdoors, and have recently picked up running – mostly running away from my problems. When I’m not tinkering with the latest tech products, I’m out exploring Victoria and Australia, capturing its beauty through my lens.

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