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Aussie pub culture more about eating than drinking

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2014 – June 2015 (n=15,241).

If you thought the main purpose of pubs was to quench their patrons’ hard-earned thirst, think again. In an average three months, the number of Australians going to the pub for a meal outstrips those going for just a drink, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

In the 12 months to June 2015, 43% of the population 18+ (or 7.9 million people) went to a pub or hotel at least once for a meal in any given three-month period —more than twice the proportion going for a drink only (20%, or 3.7 million people).

While men (25%) are substantially more likely than women (15%) to visit the pub just for a drink, pub dining is more gender-balanced, attracting similar proportions of men (44%) and women (42%). Overall, country-dwellers (45%) are a little more likely than capital city residents (42%) to dine at a pub.

South Australians are particularly fond of pub grub, with more than half of them (54%) eating a meal at the pub in an average three months, well ahead of Victorians (47%). Western Australians are less inclined to dine at the pub (36%) while NSW residents are marginally ahead of other states when it comes to pub-drinking (21%).

Aussies who went to the pub for a meal or a drink in last 3 months


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2014 – June 2015 (n=15,241).

Going to the pub for just a drink is most popular among younger Australians aged 18-24 (27%) and 25-34 (28%), dropping off sharply among those aged 50+.

On the other hand, the 50-64 age bracket is more likely than any other group to grab a pub meal (45%), but only marginally. In an average three months, 44% of 25-34 year-olds and the same proportion of 35-49 year olds also eat out at a pub or hotel.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Our latest findings suggest that Slim Dusty’s mythical ‘Pub with no Beer’ might stand a chance in this day and age, as long as its meals were up to scratch. A far greater number of Australians are visiting pubs and hotels to dine rather than for the sole purpose of having a tipple, a trend that has been helped along by the proliferation of ‘gastropubs’.

“Offering everything from Asian cuisine and gourmet pizzas to vegan burgers and Texas-style ribs, Aussie pub dining has come a long way since the humble counter meal. By positioning themselves as an affordable and appealing alternative to conventional restaurants, pubs are not only attracting patrons who might not otherwise have visited, they are also adapting to the national decline in alcohol consumption.

“Of course, just because someone visits a pub for a meal rather than a drinking session doesn’t mean they won’t imbibe with their meal. Adults who dine at pubs are more than 20% more likely than the average Australian to agree that ‘I like to drink wine with my meals’… which sounds very much like a win-win situation to us!”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%