When you think of a one-pub town, you might imagine a remote location, dusty roads and a few horses tied up out front. Erm, okay maybe not quite. But swap the red dirt for white sand (minus the horses) and you’re getting warmer.
The best thing about this one-pub town is that it’s nestled nicely in between towering coloured-sand cliffs and the 120-kilometre stretch of pristine beach and rainforest that makes up Fraser Island.
Welcome to the Rainbow Beach Hotel.
Picture if you will, wide timber verandas, high ceilings, a long welcoming bar and the requisite selection of pub grub on the menu. Yep, the Rainbow Beach Hotel has all the hallmarks of a traditional country pub but all the whitewash and cool sea breezes of a 1950s beach shack, making it pretty damn near perfect in my mind.
With plantation shutters, wooden fans hanging from the ornate pressed ceiling and one very tropical vase full of baby pineapples sprouting from stems, this place is Miami cool minus the Botox and fake tan.
When I arrived in Rainbow Beach recently, after an easy three-hour drive north from Brisbane on a sunny Friday afternoon, there was no question of where to kick back with a cold drink and take in the scenery. The pub was quickly filling up with families, couples clearly escaping the city for a romantic weekend away, chatty locals and groups of backpackers. Tables were pulled together as more mates wandered into this popular meeting spot while the week was dissected and washed away with a few friendly schooners.
My friend took delight in selecting her steak from the fresh cuts on display while I opted for the prawn and chorizo spaghetti (keeping with the ocean meets farmland vibe here) with just the right amount of garlic and chilli. Knowing I could use this pub review as an excuse, we also felt it necessary to share the pork belly salad with palm sugar caramel, ‘apple slaw’, sesame seeds and black vinegar to start. And yes, I would do it all over again. Delicious!
Here’s a fun fact for you: The Rainbow Beach Hotel is one of the few places left to still serve beer ‘off the wood’. It seems Castlemaine Brewery was impressed by its traditional pub style, deciding it a fitting place to continue to serve wooden cask beer. You can treat your tastebuds every Saturday from 5:30pm.
While it doesn’t have the age of some of the more renowned Aussie pubs, being built in 1958, this watering hole has more than enough character to go ‘round and will continue to quench the thirsts of keen fisherman, surfers and passers through for many years to come.