The best pubs and bars in Geelong
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14.02.2022

The best pubs and bars in Geelong

Words by Tammy Walters

Here's our list of the best bars and pubs in the great regional city of Geelong.

Like our Beat Magazine family has done for Melbourne’s pubs and bars, we’ll be taking you on a virtual pub and bar crawl of Geelong, uncovering the best spots to get a cold beer on tap, sip a wine, down a solid parmi and, of course, have a boogie to some killer live music.

We’re taking the regional reigns, giving you a good old country and surf coast outing. Let’s start with Forté’s home base in Geelong.

Here are the best pubs and bars to get around in Geelong.

Geelong Hotel

Address: 69 Yarra St, Geelong

Vibe: Revamped with neons, party central

Outdoor area: Outdoor beer garden and rooftop bar

Dedicated menu: Pub classics + seaside snacks

As with many of the pubs on this list, Geelong Hotel has had many names, including the unforgettable Bended Elbow, and seen many faces. With a much needed facelift, Geelong Hotel (better known to locals as GH), is a Friday and Saturday night go to for a classic pub meal, standout cocktails, beats galore and the occasional live music act in their dedicated upstairs bandroom.

 

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Sailor’s Rest

Address: 3 Moorabool Street, Geelong

Vibe: Summery, laid back during day, club vibes past 9PM

Outdoor area: Rooftop Bar and beer garden

Dedicated menu: Mix of Classic Pub and tapas

This multi-level gem offers dinner, drinks and a view. Located on Geelong’s waterfront, Sailors Rest shakes it up from an all day brunch spot to a certified good time as the sun goes down thanks to their incredible rooftop bar.  

 

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Malt Shovel Tap House

Address: Corner Malop St & Bellerine Street, Geelong

Vibe: Laid back, Sunday arvo vibes

Outdoor area: Beer Garden

Dedicated menu: Burgers, Snacks and classic pub meals

Malt Shovel Tap House is a home for craft beer lovers. Split into multiple dining areas, including an art deco front room, a beer garden, a more intimate booth setting and a beer hall reminiscent area, Malt Shovel Tap House caters for everyone with their well rounded offering. 

Whilst specialists in rotisserie meats, they have a long list of burgers, classic pub meals and sharing plates on offer. On the beer side, you can’t go past their tasting paddle to have a taste of everything on tap.

The Cremorne Hotel

Address: 336 Pakington Street, Newtown

Vibe: Laid back, sports pub

Outdoor area: Small beer garden

Dedicated menu: Classic pub meals

With footy season just around the corner, The Cremorne will be frothing. 

Located in the river end of Pakington Street, just a stone’s throw from GMHBA Stadium, The Cremorne is a pre and post game favourite for Geelong Cat’s fans and players, alike, and not just because it is co-owned by AFL legend Billy Brownless who is often seen chatting to locals at the bar. With great classic pub meals, cold frothies flowing, a great atmosphere and TAB and Keno facilities, The Cremorne is a local go-to spot.

 

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Murphys

Address: 30 Aberdeen Street, Geelong West 

Vibe: Loud, energetic

Outdoor area: Rooftop Bar

Dedicated menu: Irish pub classics and pizza

Formerly Irish Murphy’s, Murphys has a rich history in Geelong as one of our oldest pubs. Established in 1855, this charmer is also linked to football, with the Geelong Cats Football club having originated there. It went on to become a stereotypical Irish pub that served loud live music and dancing of a night, trivia nights and a lovely Sunday lunch for the family. Murphys has since evolved into a more modern space with a gorgeous stained glass enclosed, rooftop bar showing a stunning view of Geelong, however they have not lost the original pub charm.

 

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The Inn Hotel

Address: 58 Corio Street, Geelong

Vibe: Mix of laid back Sunday arvo vibes and festival energy 

Outdoor area: Beer garden and marquee car park

Dedicated menu: Classic meets contemporary cuisine

The Inn Hotel has built a name for itself in recent years as the pub that brings both the local talent and Australian household names to their car park parties with DJ sets a-plenty. A quality spot for a Friday and Saturday night shuffle and a Sunday session all the same, The Inn has quality food from their seasonal menu, quality drinks (espresso martinis are a go-to!) and quality tunes.

 

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The National Hotel

Address: 191 Moorabool Street, Geelong

Vibe: Relaxed

Outdoor area: Rooftop Bar

Dedicated menu: Classic Pub Meals

Ah, the National Hotel. To many this historic building is plastered with stories of wild nights, untame fun, legendary live performances, and heartwarming community. The Nash was trash and so were the people that lined the bar (it was a self-proclaimed nametag), but these days the National Hotel has cleaned up and has a sparkling reputation. Now a seated pub with three modern, yet homely areas (including a fireplace in the middle section) split across three stories, The National Hotel boasts a warm classic pub menu and tanks of Carlton on tap. Their rooftop area is a standout feature from the redevelopment and often has acoustic live music.

 

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Sawyers Arms Tavern

Address: 2 Noble Street, Geelong

Vibe: Laid back and on the upper class side

Outdoor area: Small outdoor seating area

Dedicated menu: Seasonal menu incorporating classics

Another pub in close proximity to GMHBA Stadium, Sawyers Arms Tavern has been a Geelong icon since 1850. Sawyers Arms is a stunning building that boasts exposed brick walls and a stained wood panelled bar, with high-quality cuisine to match. Their seasonal menu incorporates pub classics and plentiful seafood options made from local produce, whilst their wine selection is curated to include both local talent and renowned bottles.  

Belmont Hotel

Address: 77 High Street, Belmont

Vibe: Sunday arvo breezy

Outdoor area: Rooftop Area

Dedicated menu: Fine dining meets classic pub meal

This 1920’s establishment is located at the top of town on High Street. A favourite pick as a function venue, Belmont Hotel has embraced their art-deco interior with complimentary classic pub meal meets fining dining selection and their wide cocktail range. The rooftop is the perfect spot for a Sunday session or to gather the mates to watch sport over a pint. If you love an amaretto sour, these guys do the best in town!

 

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Gold Diggers Arms

Address: 87 Skene St, Newtown

Vibe: Classy comfort

Outdoor area: N/A

Dedicated menu: Pub classics with added flair

Another veteran on the Geelong pub crawl is the 1854 established Gold Diggers Arms. One of the last pubs tucked in a residential area, and a short walk from our Forté office, Gold Diggers Arms, affectionately known as ‘The Diggers’, is a blend of classy and comfortable. Sectioned into the public bar, the Saloon, the dining space and the Atticus room, Diggers is both an after work drinks destination and a luscious family dinner space. 

Telegraph Hotel

Address: 2 Pakington Street, Geelong West

Vibe: The perfect place to meet

Outdoor area: Rooftop Area

Dedicated menu: Gastropub fare

Sitting pretty right at the top of Pakington Street with an unmistakable and iconic Art Deco façade, the Tele is renowned for its a la carte dining, comfortable spaces with full service and a seasonal modern Australian menu. Open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday, you’ll find everything from grazing boards, salads and cheese, to beef cheeks, housemade gnocchi, burnt basque cheesecake and even crème brulee. 

A highlight coming into summer the award-winning Rooftop Terrace, which is the perfect spot for a few cocktails with your pals. We spy a cocktail list with espresso martini, telegraph tiramisu, and a berrylicious mojito. 

The Barwon Club Hotel

Address: 509 Moorabool St, South Geelong

Vibe: Time-tested and boisterous 

Outdoor area: Beer Garden 

Dedicated menu: Classic pub fare 

Another iconic live music venue, the BC is everything you love about a pub. They have long been the go-to destination for the traditional pub experience in Geelong since it was first opened in the early ’90s, and it doesn’t seem like things are slowing down.

Perfect for winding down after a long day, the beer garden offers punters a chance to escape the rush of inside – a true sign the venue is still alive – with a variety of different seating options while you enjoy your parmi or burger. Seek shelter under the Barn where large tables sit along the wall, or walk a bit further and enter an open space with considerable bench seating. With huge acts regularly playing the band room, a juke-box blasting tunes in the outdoor area and regular DJs playing inside and in the beer garden, there’s bound to be something to pique your interest whatever day of the week you choose to roll up to the BC.

 

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The 18th Amendment Bar

Address: 82A Little Malop Street, Geelong

Vibe: Speakeasy class

Outdoor area: N/A

Dedicated menu: Fancy cocktails

This multi-award-winning prohibition-style speakeasy, and brainchild of our darling Gorge Camorra, is by far one of the most popular bars in the Geelong region and for good reason. Take a step up the Little Malop Street stairway and back in time to experience class and concoction innovation. With groundbreaking cocktail creations and Instagrammable designs, The 18th Amendment Bar is more than a drink with friends.

Piano Bar

Address: 90 – 92 Little Malop Street, Geelong

Vibe: Popping

Outdoor area: N/A 

Dedicated menu: Snack food

Piano Bar has taken Geelong by storm since their inception in 2015, having since expanded to have Ballarat, Colac and Bendigo locations. The Geelong franchise returned to the Little Malop Street family in a bigger venue for bigger entertainment. As the name suggests, Piano Bar offers sing-along entertainment accompanied by the ivory keys, and, dependent on the night, by fabulous drag queens. You and your friends will have one of the best nights of your life within the Piano Bar walls, enjoying snack bar food and a general selection of wines, beers and spirits.

 

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Valhalla Brewing Taproom

Address: 12-14 Union Street, Geelong

Vibe: Lazy afternoon fun

Outdoor area: Street dining

Dedicated menu: Jaffles

Scott Hunt opened Valhalla Taproom in 2019 and his personality has been seeping into the patrons ever since not only through the love of beer, including their own Valhalla brew, but through the love of heavy music played on their vinyl set up. True to the Valhalla legend, this place honours living your best life and enjoying the things most precious.Patrons are encouraged to bring their own vinyl to spin and share with the community as they enjoy a cold one, eating amazing spaghetti jaffles and playing UNO. Additionally they feature live, local music on Fridays from 7.30PM – 930PM. 

Wah Bar

Address: Cunningham Pier, 10 Western Beach, Geelong

Vibe: Cool, energetic fun

Outdoor area: Tables located on the stairs

Dedicated menu: Asian menu

Connected to Wah Wah Gee, Wah Bar is unmissable with its base on the end of Cunningham Pier, at the top of the stairs and illuminated by neon signs. Sharing the bao bun and delicious dumpling menu (the crispy chicken bao bun is to die for) of its sister company, Wah Bah takes up the vibrancy and boldness of the cocktail menu and adds a dancefloor to the mix. A solid way to spend your Saturday night.  

 

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There There

Address: 8 Malop Street, Geelong

Vibe: Chill and vibrant

Outdoor area: Connected to Captains

Dedicated menu: Cocktails on top of cocktails

There There is a the go-to for a good night out. If you love killer retro beats, if you love cocktails and if you love to boogie down, There, There is your place. With a retro fit out including dial phones, vinyl record wall displays, double and triple denim walls, leather couches, box TV’s, and a vine centrepiece, There There pays homage to the 70’s through style, music and their rich cocktail menu. The more outrageously coloured your shirt and wide your flare pants, the better.

 

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Beavs Bar

Address: 77 Little Malop Street, Geelong.

Vibe: Retro, metropolitan-feel 

Outdoor area: N/A

Dedicated menu: Rotating roster of live musicians 

This charming venue behind the big red door has been a favourite hangout for years now and has become the go-to place to listen to some acoustic original singer-songwriters, chill out on the lounge having a drink with your mates or partake in a cheeky few rounds of karaoke on a Wednesday night. With a fun atmosphere and eclectic fitout, there’s really nothing like Beavs anywhere else in town: a mishmash of coffee tables and couches, framed photos and artwork adorning the red walls; a string of shabby barbies hanging from the ceiling and a quality bar stacked with local craft beers and wines, along with an array of spirits to satisfy your needs. It’s quirky and it has personality, and that’s why we love it.

 

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Manhattan Bar

Address: 9 James St, Geelong

Vibe: New York bar

Outdoor area: Street seating 

Dedicated menu: Craft beer, cocktails and vodka infusions 

Manhattan Bar, The 18th Amendment‘s younger and more laid-back sister will have you sipping on craft beers, cocktails and quality spirits all weekend long. Manhattan Bar provides all the vibes of a New York bar in the centre of Geelong – cheap drinks, an unpretentious atmosphere, and a unique experience with equally unique individuals. Think dimly lit, big neon signs and ample seating, including booths making it the perfect spot to sit back, relax and take the edge off after a long week. With the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll coursing through its veins, inside you’ll be met with an insta-worthy neon sign as the backdrop for your weekend drinks, with the added touch of vintage tour posters, sexy lighting, framed portraits of rock gods and goddesses, retro vinyl stickers lining the furniture and some of the best records lining the walls.