Einasleigh Hotel, (Einasleigh QLD)


The Einasleigh hotel stands as the image icon of the outback Aussie Pub, and there was a lot of competition to be the first to get to review this one. The perceived remoteness of this pub was what had kept the reviewing hordes at bay, but in the end it was really a simple matter of catching the train. The only catch was that we had to drive the thing out there ourselves!

The pub was built in 1909, and actually celebrates its centenary in October (next month at time of writing)

After parking the train at the local station (as you do) we trudged over to the pub in rich anticipation of getting the review underway. Here is what Hamish has to say about his initial impressions of this fine slightly slanting establishment.

Hamish:

Being quite a warm day and having been slaving over the controls of a damn hot railmotor into the strong afternoon sun, the sight of this pub was indeed most welcome. It was doubly delicious owing to the fact that I have visited this pub several times before, but could not partake in its more tantalising wares due to always being in some  sort of “safeworking” (aka; responsible,safe, stuff to do with the operation of trains etc etc) capacity. Today, this was all about to change, and no amount of wild Boars or dead Roo’s would have stopped us.

After no less than three false starts from our now safely stabled railmotor – (namely Mike stuffing around like the Muddle-Headed Wombat on clean-up day), the sound of crunching dry grass under our boots during the more eager than normal “trudge” from the station was soon overtaken by the sounds of laughter and glasses being racked for the next round in this awesome watering hole.

On this occasion, we were not the only “blow in’s” – a local identity was getting married here the following day, so there was a wide range of visitors – some even from the land of the long white cloud. And sheep. I digress.

Mike recalls the blow-in females present announced to all arriving visitors that “this isn’t the pub with no beer – its the pub with no men”! (I might at this point, speaking strictly for myself, state that the less said about this premise the better)!

The first beer was delivered through a traditional “swing” type handled beer tap mounted from the cold room. There were only limited beers available on tap, but out in this country, no one would be hardly interested (or game to ask for) any Stella Artois or St Arnou’s Pilsener regardless. These first beers (to no ones surprise) hardly touched the sides. The temperature was perfectly cold, as was the temperature of the stubbies available from an under bar esky.

This unique opportunity to sample this pubs hospitality and style was brought about due to some clever, (or just plain arsey) last minute planning, and therefore we opted to stay the night in it’s (according the the publican) “broom cupboard” sized rooms upstairs. We found these to be comfortable, alive with personality (and not with fleas – unlike some other establishments) and air conditioned.

The back veranda of the pub housed its ablution facilities – most of which oozed of the typical persona of an outback pub, complete with push out horizontal corrugated iron shutters held open with wooden props, and most doorways, architraves and other structurally worthwhile formations not really marrying up with any square lines.

Down in the main bar, many “regulars” were noted – not bad for a Sunday night. Immediate observations included those of a pool table, wall mounted CD juke box, dart board, a good variety of spirits behind the bar, as well as the traditional top shelf lined with bottles of Vok in various states of age and fullness. This quintessential outback pub was well decorated with nick-nacks and collectibles. A set of wall mounted porcelain “flying ducks” above the fridges was complimented by that of a set of Guiness Toucan’s in front.

A truly amazing mixed all-sorts of miniature figurines takes up the space which one would have presumed was once the “lounge” bar or dining room, and is more than worth the visit even if alcoholic based beverages (sadly) can’t be consumed. There is not a single poker machine within coo-ee, which also makes for a richer and more realistic environment.

A damn fine ol’ time was had by all, and a shovel and hose would have been well justified to make a track through the beer and bullshit that was so keenly dispensed on the downstairs veranda through the night. In essence, this is amongst my personal top ten pubs in this country. I couldn’t recommend this pub highly enough to anyone who enjoys the true Aussie essence that resonates so well from within it, and despite its remoteness, some simple planning that incorporates a night at this choice venue will also delight the traveller with spectacular sunsets and amazing night skies.

On the tucker front, I was very happilly stuffing myself with numerous bags of chips available in the “Smiths” variety, as a previously enjoyed humongous burger from Mount Surprise earlier in the day was enough to feed a small African nation. However, meals are arranged for house guests, and light snack type foods are available. It would be unwise to expect any sort of a-la-carte menu in such a remote location. In our case, tasty good ol’ Vegemite on toast with lashings of butter was made available for our own preparation, as was coffee and tea, the morning after the night before.

The evening was spent circulating through the various drinking and entertainment venues within the pub, those being on the veranda smoking area, at the bar, and hovering over the pool table. While Hamish was enjoying his pots of fourex, it was to the great annoyance of the publican, who had his regular ‘Quitting times’ (his words – time out in the smokers lounge relaxing) interrupted by the frequent need to replenish the smallish drinking vessel. For mine, sometimes you just can’t go past stubbies straight off the ice, and I thus conformed to the more usual expectations of the pub, and got into the Mid-strengths from the huge esky.

The publican is Alan Start, and was most delighted in learning that his pub was being reviewed for the ‘internet’. Starty was really getting into the party atmosphere of the night, yet somehow managed to strictly conform to the requirements of the liquor licensing act*. For the purposes of the review, he dug deeply into his box of party hats and insisted that a photo of reviewers adorned in this magnificent milliners art be published. Your opinions may be posted in the comments.

A pub is not a pub without a pool table, so the local offering was trialled. The dynamics of this table were quickly to be found to be somewhat different to certain social networking computer based models, but fortunately for me, Hamish adopted to the physics somewhat slower than desirable. I had therefore won three games** before my alcohol fueled skill threshold collapsed, and Hamish finally got a win on the board.

Unfortunately, a ‘bottle to throttle’ rule exists that precludes consumption of alcohol beyond a certain time ahead of when one is required to sign on for duty the next day, and this time arrived a little too quickly – as it does when you’re having fun. The night ended retiring to a comfortable if somewhat austere room upstairs at the pub.

It was a really great night, and a really great pub. At one stage while sitting out on the veranda, I saw that framed in the door way were three typical North Queensland bushman, standing around a timber bench fixed to the wall of the pub, deep in conversation enjoying their beers in this almost timeless environment. This image perfectly illustrated the mood and the atmosphere and to me, the expectation of what a classic Aussie Pub is all about.

Hamish:

Not only a distinguished pub in its iconic character as a building and a district landmark, but its publican and patrons were alive with character that is so sadly lacking in most larger town venues. Beer – cold, service – earthy, accommodation – tidy & adequate.

It’s a very hearty “Yes” from me.

* As far as I know

** Some could argue it was only two and a half games. If you want to find out more, ask in the comments.

The Einasleigh Pub

The Einasleigh Pub

Starty behind the bar

Starty behind the bar

What night out is complete without funny hats?

What night out is complete without funny hats?

The Einasleigh Pool Hall

The Einasleigh Pool Hall

Behind the Bar

Behind the Bar

A long shot of the bar

A long shot of the bar

We were there!

We were there!

Who's this suss bugger? The things you read...

Who's this suss bugger? The things you read...

Hamish tries to pour a beer

Hamish tries to pour a beer

Starty shows him how its done

Starty shows him how its done

As the night wears  on

As the night wears on

Get Directions

  1. #1 by Leesa Williams on 9 September, 2009 - 6:20 pm

    What an entertaining read Hamish! You write so well, were you in Gibbo’s English class by any chance? Anyway makes me want to go there. Keep the reviews coming.

  2. #2 by andy on 8 December, 2009 - 3:42 pm

    in the photo from “We were there!” acutaly came from my grandmothers old house

  3. #3 by andy on 8 December, 2009 - 3:42 pm

    the old wall i mean

  4. #4 by alan start on 21 May, 2010 - 6:15 pm

    thanks for the write up fellas, it was just pointed out to me. 11th birthday tomorrow and the hat collection is still well.
    cheers
    starty

  5. #5 by Mike on 22 May, 2010 - 7:22 am

    Tomorrow? My intel has let me down! That would surely be worth the drive to Einasleigh.

  6. #6 by Ron Kerr on 19 October, 2013 - 12:30 pm

    G’day! What an interesting pub. Enjoyed a beer there a few weeks ago when a passenger on the Savannah lander. Delighted to meet Emily from Donegal and Amber from Leicester. Cheers to all!

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