Holding its place as the largest populated town in Western Australia, the Goldfields Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a historical mining town rich in history since its inception during Gold Rush in the late 19th century.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder currently has around 25 pubs in operation, with many of the town’s staples located along the main Hannan Street, making them easily accessible and quick to bounce between on a night out – here’s a few of the best:
The Star & Garter Hotel
This family owned and operated venue offers rooms starting at $99 a night. A short walk from the town centre, The Star & Garter contains Mumma Mia’s Trattoria, a delicious Italian restaurant offering free kid’s meals every Wednesday and Sunday. Attached to the property is the popular bar which holds countless fun evens like footy tipping and spin the wheel. Happy hour between 5-6pm every weekday includes $8 pints and $12 cocktails to finish your day right.
The Exchange Hotel
The original building was built in 1895 and quickly became the epicentre of entertainment for early gold hunters and their families. Built by the Wilkie Brothers, who were contractors for the famous Southern Cross-Kalgoorlie railway line, the building has passed hands many times since its origins. Surviving race riots and falling into receivership, today the Exchange Hotel is comprised of Paddy’s Eat & Drink, a modern family friendly restaurant which serves a delicious chicken parmigiana, and the Wild West Saloon, an old-school skimpy bar which is popular with locals and tourists alike.
The Palace Hotel and Gold Bar
Directly across the road from the Exchange you’ll find The Palace – built in 1879, its original concept was luxury. Designed with extravagance in mind as the masses flocked to the goldfields hoping to generate wealth during the gold rush years, the Palace Hotel has been an iconic building ever since. This two-storey building was the first in Kalgoorlie-Boulder to have electric-lighting and fresh piped water, which combined with its stationing on the main road has made it the site of many-a fancy do over the decades.
Today it’s ground floor has a meeting place of a different kind in the Gold Bar – the closest thing the town has to a nightclub. If you’re game make sure to order one of their infamous ‘Black Panther’ cocktails.
Broad Arrow Tavern
Built in 1896, Broad Arrow Tavern is located 38km outside of Kalgoorlie-Boulder (about a 20-minute drive) and is the last remnant of the once populated town of Broad Arrow. Labelled a ‘Ghost Town’ since residents relocated after the gold rush dried up, today the area is virtually deserted apart from the tavern. With walls covered in the names of people who have come and gone over the years, it’s exactly the kind of pub your mind’s eye should envision when you think “country pub” with a couple of pool tables thrown in for good measure.
Pro-tip: No visit is complete without indulging in a ‘Broady Burger’.
The Kalgoorlie Hotel/Judd’s Pub
Located on the main Hannan’s Street, the Kalgoorlie Hotel was built in 1896 out of white stone, making it one of the oldest buildings in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and has been a staple of the town ever since. The connected pub on the ground floor was renamed Judd’s in 1969 when James (Judd) Mahoney and his wife took over the ownership of the pub until 1997. Still colloquially called Judd’s, new owners renamed the building back to the Kalgoorlie Hotel in 2012, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a local who uses that name.
Nowadays the pub is still serving icy cold beers, and also sports a gorgeous mural named ‘Thirsty Work’ along the beer garden’s brick wall, the image depicting a woman drinking a corona while a Pink Galah rests on a beer bottle.
The York Hotel
Built between 1900-1901, this two-story Dutch-style building still serves as a restaurant and a hotel
on Hannan Street. Offering the best night in town, the York Hotel offers bargain prices which, at $85 per night for a single room, means you can be close to the entertainment below. Spend a night and
enjoy hearty meals, flowing beers and live music every Friday night.
The Grand Hotel
The first brick building in the area, the Grand Hotel was constructed in 1897 and has since become
heritage listed. Located in the city centre, the Grand Hotel is situated right where all the action happens. Offering grand accommodation, this Boulder building supplies spectacular views of the Main Street, a stocked bar on the ground floor, and enough character to keep you coming back for more.
The Rec Hotel
Founded in 1898 and located in Boulder, The Rec has been a staple of the town for decades. Having changed ownership numerous times since it’s creation, the current owners have managed this local
favourite since 1990. A Category 2 heritage building, The Rec offers unbeatable woodfire pizzas, a
fully stocked cocktail and wine bar and historic accommodation. Everything you could want right at
This restaurant is newer than the others on this list, although the building has had many name changes over time. DeBernales has a stylish and relaxed environment that turns from family restaurant to thriving bar over the weekend. Named after Claude de Bernales, who helped bolster investment into the Western Australian Mining industry and reduce poverty and starvation in the goldfields, everybody pops by the Deb on their night out.
The Piccadilly Hotel
The Piccadilly Hotel, or The Pic, is the quintessential outback bar. Open every day till late, The Pic is the best place for a Sunday session with your mates. A single-story hotel with an extending veranda, the bar’s beer garden is welcoming for all. Estimated to have been built sometime around 1896, The Piccadilly Hotel has remained a favourite for locals and visitors alike with weekly events ranging from Friday’s meat raffle to Thursday’s Joker Jackpot.
Get more WA country pub goodness here.
Header Image Credit: Exchange Hotel