No one knows how to stage a party like Kalgoorlie. With a pub just about on almost every street corner, there’s no avoiding a good night out.
There are about 25 pubs in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. For a city that stretches just 67sq km with a population of more than 30,000 people, the volume of pubs makes for an impressive nightlife scene.
It seems Kalgoorlie has had a long love affair with the amber liquid. In the early 1900s, when the Goldfields were in their heyday, there were 93 hotels and eight breweries. In the days before CY O’Connor got to work on the pipeline, water was pretty scarce. In fact legend has it that beer was actually cheaper than water. So when a thirsty miner came in from a day’s prospecting it wasn’t a glass of H2O he reached for, it was an icy cold beer.
These days, it seems not much has changed. The industry of mining may have become more sophisticated, but when the shift is over, the pubs are flooded with workers, just as they were 100 years ago.
There are three types of pubs in Kalgoorlie – the ones that attract workers (thanks mostly to those infamous skimpy bar maids), the ones that are suited to families and couples, and those that keep the young crowd entertained with live music and good vibes.
If you’re visiting Kalgoorlie on a Friday, Judd’s Pub at the Kalgoorlie Hotel is a must. It’s the most happening Friday night in town and is a hot spot for 20 and 30-somethings up for a big night. This is also where you’ll find backpackers and other tourists who are passing through. There’s a restaurant upstairs that serves good quality fare, like wood-fired pizzas, for dinner and lunch. The balcony is a pleasant place to while away an afternoon. After dark, Judd’s takes thing up a notch with regular live music. It’s also the venue of choice for touring bands like Spiderbait, who played there recently.
Paddy’s Irish Bar at the Exchange Hotel is another lively place to visit. As you might expect, there are Irish beers on tap and plenty of atmosphere. You’ll see lots of young people here, especially on a Friday and Saturday night.
Karaoke is big in Kalgoorlie and many pubs and bars run karaoke competitions on various nights of the week. The biggest are at the Palace Hotel and the Hannon Hotel. The crowd is young in both pubs and you’ll find lots of people, especially young women, belting out their favourite tunes on the weekends. Upstairs at the Palace Hotel is the Tart ‘n’ Miner bar and restaurant, perfect for a relaxed drink.
If you’re after somewhere quiet for a drink with friends, or somewhere to take the family for dinner, try the Albion Shamrock Irish Pub in Boulder, a family pub and restaurant with a casual atmosphere. Flanagan’s Bar and the York Hotel have similar vibes.
For something original, the Metropole Hotel in Boulder features a mineshaft that leads to the Super Pit. With the entry point glassed-over and on show in the hotel, it makes for a good conversation starter.
Skimpy bars are everywhere in Kalgoorlie, and some are known to be the exclusive stomping grounds of locals and miners. Places like the Federal, Grand, Broken Hill, Golden Eagle, Inland City and Main Reef Hotels fall into this category.
If you’re after a skimpy-free bar you’ll need to do some homework. Many pubs offer two different atmospheres – a skimpy front bar and then a more general drinking or eating area that attracts a young, friendly crowd. The Recreation, Rock Inn, Tower, North End, Criterion, Gala Tavern and Exchange Hotel are popular for this reason.
– Sue Waters
Find a pub:
Criterion, Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2271.
Exchange Hotel, Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2833.
Federal Hotel, 1 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2426.
Grand Hotel, 90 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2353.
Kalgoorlie Hotel, 319 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 3046.
Palace Hotel, Maritana Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 1813.
Tart 'n' Miner, Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2788.
York Hotel, 259 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2337.
Albion Shamrock Irish Pub, Burt Street, Boulder, (08) 9093 1399.
Broken Hill Hotel, corner Lane & Forrest Streets, Boulder, (08) 9093 1459.
Flanagans Bar, MacDonald Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 1749.
Gala Tavern, corner Lane and Cheetham Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2260.
Golden Eagle Hotel, Federal Road, Boulder, (08) 9093 3171.
Grand Hotel Boulder, Burt Street, Boulder, (08) 9093 1252.
Hannans Hotel, Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 1576.
Inland City Hotel, Corner Forrest & Lane Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2401.
Main Reef Tavern, Dwyer Street, Boulder, (08) 9093 1132.
Metropole Hotel, Burt Street, Boulder, (08) 9093 1281.
North End Tavern, Corner Lyall & Cotter Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2120.
Piccadilly Hotel, Piccadilly Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 2109.
Recreation Hotel, Corner Lionel & Burt Streets, Boulder, (08) 9093 2076.
Rock Inn Hotel, Corner Federal & Burt Streets, Boulder, (08) 9093 3883.
Star & Garter Hotel, Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9026 3399.
Tower Hotel, Corner Maritana & Bourke Streets, Kalgoorlie, (08) 9021 3211.