While Adelaide is often referred to as the City of Churches, it has also always been well endowed with pubs. In addition to its more modern watering holes, a large number of historic pubs remain in the city to this day.

The pictures attached depict five historic East End Pubs, each great examples of colonial architecture, best admired with a glass in hand. So, as my Adelaide review index invites – ‘raise a glass’ in one of Adelaide’s historic pubs.

Since the establishment of the Colony in 1836 pubs in South Australia have provided a wide range of services and catered for all, the living and the dead!

An 1839 liquor licensing law required a publican to provide for:

“…a traveller and his horse, or a traveller without a horse, the horse of a traveller not becoming a guest of the house …or any corpse which may be brought to his public house for the purpose of a Coroner’s inquest”.

Any publican not providing these services was committing an offence and liable to be fined up to 20 pounds.

Until 1863 licensing laws permitted the serving of alcohol to children of any age. From 1863 it became an offence for children under 12 to consume alcohol on licensed premises.

The depression of the 1890s hit the pub business badly as did the rise of the temperance movement in Australia generally. Sunday trading was stopped in 1891 and the minimum drinking age increased to sixteen, then eighteen and then twenty-one. In 1971 it was lowered again to eighteen.

Perhaps the biggest hit to pubs came with the limiting of hours during WWI. Pubs throughout Australia were required to close at 6pm. This led to the ‘6 o’clock swill’ where, leading up to six pm, patrons would consume as much beer as possible before they had to leave. Puritanical South Australia’s ‘6 o’clock swill’ lasted from the mid 1910’s to 1976!

The pubs depicted are:

Picture 1 above – Crown and Anchor Hotel (opened 1853, rebuilt 1880) on the corner of Union and Grenfell streets. Affectionately referred to as the ‘Cranker’.


Picture 2 – Exeter Hotel (opened 1851, rebuilt in 1888 and refurbished in 1929 when the green glass tiles were added) on Rundle Street – one of Adelaide’s most loved pubs and always good for a beer or two.


Picture 3 – The Producers Hotel, formerly the Exchange Hotel and before that Mrs Ware’s Exchange. In a rare Queen Anne architecture style (The Stag Hotel in my next picture is another example). A hotel has been on this site since 1839.

Picture 4 – The Stag Hotel (opened 1849 – mainly rebuilt in 1903 when the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange was built close by) is an Adelaide Institution which served stallholders and visitors to both East End markets for most of its existence. Indeed the East End Market had it origins in the buildings right behind the hotel. Look out for the stone stag’s head above the window by the turret with the flagpole attached – hard to see in my attached picture.


Picture 5 – Botanic Hotel and Chambers (opened 1876-77) on the intersection of North and East Terrace. This Victorian ‘tiered wedding cake’ lookalike was designed by Michael McMullen for owner Richard Vaughan who had earlier established the nearby East End Market.

Any one of these five pubs, and many more like them, provide a great rest stop for the hungry, weary or thirsty city explorer.

For my next Adelaide – CITY EAST review click HERE.
For other Adelaide reviews click HERE.


One thought on “Pubs In Adelaide’s East End

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s