As I wandered around the city streets during my 10 Days in Perth, Western Australia last month, it struck me that there didn’t seem to be many pubs around. The population of Perth is very similar to that of Brisbane, yet we seem to have more pubs here than they do over there.
I made a mental note to make it my mission to find out more about this, not just to compare the numbers of pubs in both Perth and Brisbane, oh no, my ambition was much bigger than that.
I wanted to find out which state or territory in all of Australia has more pubs per capita than any other.
The state of pubs in Australia
My research went surprisingly smoothly when I soon discovered a website called Publocation. What a great name for a website! Their ambition seems to be to list every single pub here in Australia by states, cities, towns and suburbs.
It looks like they’ve done a pretty good job.
According to their statistics, Australia has 6033 hotels, pubs and taverns. Their criteria for inclusion in the listing was simply ‘…an establishment with a bar with public access, providing either food or accommodation as a basic.‘
They say they update their figures every 12 months, so these numbers should be pretty much up-to-date.
Table 1. Numbers of hotels, pubs and taverns state by state in Australia:
- NSW 2052
- QLD 1251
- VIC 1092
- SA 658
- WA 595
- TAS 281
- NT 72
- ACT 32
- Total: 6033
You can see these figures and much more over on the page publocation.com.au/facts which will also tell you that there are 47 pubs with a postcode of 4000, that’s Brisbane city centre, compared with 30 pubs in postcode 6000, which is Perth city centre.
So yes, Brisbane does have more pubs than Perth.
Of course, it stands to reason that New South Wales has more pubs than say, Northern Territory, because it has more people as well; a lot more. I wanted to know how many pubs there were per 100,000 people in each of these states and territories. For that I needed the population figures which I got from the ABS.
Table 2. Australia’s population, state-by-state, as at September 2014:
- NSW 7.544 million
- VIC 5.866 million
- QLD 4.741 million
- WA 2.589 million
- SA 1.689 million
- TAS 0.515 million
- ACT 0.387 million
- NT 0.246 million
- Total: 23.581 million
Finally, with the aid of a calculator and by performing just 8 simple calculations we can reveal Australia’s best location for pubs.
Table 3. Number of pubs per 100,000 population state-by-state in Australia:
- TAS 54.6
- SA 39.0
- NT 29.3
- NSW 27.2
- QLD 26.4
- WA 23.0
- VIC 18.6
- ACT 8.3
So there we have it, Tasmania romps home with over 54 pubs per 100,000 population. As for the ACT, they can add no pubs to their no beach list. Just 8.3 pubs per 100,000 people in Australia’s capital city.
How does this compare with the UK?
Last time I looked at how many pubs there were in the UK was 2009 in my post called Sunday Lunch in an Australian Pub. For a very long time though, UK pub numbers have been in dramatic decline and these days there are just 48,000 pubs left.
With a population of 64.1 million people, the number of pubs per 100,000 population in the UK is:
- UK 74.9
Tasmania, and all of our states and territories here in Australia, have a long way to go yet to catch up to the English.