The best pubs in Wollongong

Start the conversation
group of friends making a toast in pub

Pubs provide a relaxed gathering place for Australians from all walks of life. Photo: Supplied.

Everyone loves a good pub feed, a refreshing beer, or simply catching up with mates in a laid-back environment. Being able to head to the pub for a refreshing pint or a satisfying meal is one of Australia’s favourite pastimes, and Wollongong is no exception.

Wollongong is home to countless amazing pubs, in the CBD and outer suburbs. There is something for everyone, from busy and energetic venues to quieter local haunts, all of which provide the city with the priceless comfort of knowing there’s always a place to catch up and relax down the road.

Maybe you’re branching out from your local watering hole, or you’re visiting town and you want to know where to go. With so many options available to you, picking one can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together a list of what makes a great pub, and a guide to a handful of the best ones Wollongong has to offer.

What makes a great pub?

Pubs are simple and laid-back, always with something for everyone to enjoy, but there’s a handful of things that can make or break a venue. Here are a few things you can look for in a truly great pub:

  • Atmosphere. Whether it’s the good decor, live music, sports on screens, a nice location or a friendly crowd, your enjoyment of the pub relies on a lot more than just good food and drink – you have to feel good there too!
  • Good food. Just because we call it ‘grub’ doesn’t mean it can’t be high quality! Nobody wants a dry burger or soggy chips. Great pubs take pride in their menus, source their ingredients locally and make sure that, while their menu features the classics, there’s still something for everyone.
  • Good drinks. What’s a pub without its drinks? The best pubs in town are the ones with a wide range of quality wine and spirits, fair prices on house beverages, and an interesting selection of beers – on tap and in bottles.
  • Family-friendly. The pub is a great place to take the kids on the weekend if you don’t feel like cooking, so a great venue should be able to cater to your children’s needs. Many pubs offer colouring-in books and games, as well as a kids section on the menu to keep your little monsters satisfied.

The best pubs in Wollongong

Region Illawarra’s editorial team has compiled a comprehensive list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best in Wollongong series, each business needs to have maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google and Facebook, and have plenty of positive reviews.

North Wollongong Hotel

North Wollongong Hotel is loved by locals for food and drink alike, but it isn't just a bustling bar and bistro.

The venue is a popular destination for functions and live music, sports, games and entertainment, hosting packed Sunday Sessions each week with the team from Yours & Owls festival alongside regular one-off events.

North Gong also acts as a clubhouse of sorts for local sporting teams and runs charity events like its annual Dog Day for Illawarra dog rescues.

The Illawarra Brewery

Just across from Wollongong's South Beach is The Illawarra Brewery.

Quality food, drink, music and entertainment are easily enjoyed while overlooking to ocean, and with function spaces to boot, this brewery plays the perfect host for every patron.

"Great selection of local craft beers, relaxed vibe and great lunch specials," Simon S. reviewed online.

The Illawarra Brewery's bar and kitchen are open from 11.30am every day, with vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free alternatives available.

Dicey Riley's

A classic Irish pub on Wollongong's iconic Crown Street, Dicey Riley's features all the creature comforts you expect, along with a few you don't.

Award-winning bistro meals are complemented by a cozy lounge and experienced bar tenders... And once the pub is closed, patrons can pop into the Dicey bottleshop to take the party home.

"However you like to kick-back and get away from the grind, Dicey Riley’s is ready for you"

The Illawarra Hotel

"Large, full service pubs that are independent are a dying breed and we're on a mission to make them great again"

A traditional Aussie pub with just the right modern touch, The Illawarra Hotel is a champion of the region's growers, brewers and distillers.

Sharing stories of the people and produce behind every bite and sip, the hotel is also developing it's own urban farm over on Smith Street to promote growing, buying, and eating local.

If you’re looking for more information on pubs in Wollongong, you might like our other articles on the best businesses Wollongong has to offer.

Your experience with pubs in Wollongong

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Do you have experience with any of the Wollongong pubs listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Wollongong pubs dog friendly?

When there is outdoor seating other than an internal courtyard or beer garden, the majority of Australian pubs are dog friendly - as long as you keep your furry friend on a leash and they don't bother other guests!

Can I bring my kids to the pub?

Usually, yes! Pubs are generally very family-friendly places with comfy seating, great food (often with a kids menu) and outdoor spaces, and since pubs expect that people will bring children, they often have colouring-in books or games handy to keep the little ones occupied.

What is the difference between a bar and a pub in Australia?

Bars usually only provide snacks, often prepackaged, as their focus is on selling drinks. Bars are legally only allowed to host people who are 18 and over. Pubs, however, are found in most neighborhoods and towns across the country, and offer a varied menu of food and drinks to suit the entire family.

Why are pubs always on corners?

Most pubs developed in the mid-1800s were built on corners because they needed two entrances by law - one leading to the public bar, and one that went to accommodation directly, without the need to walk through any areas where alchohol was served.

What is the term pub short for?

'Pub' is a shortened form of 'public house', a term that dates back to the mid-1800s. It's another name for a bar or tavern that also serves food, often acting as a meeting place for its local community. These days, people visit pubs to eat, drink, socialise and watch sports or listen to live music.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.