This is what an Aussie pub should be. So rare now to find one these days not sterilized by yuppydom into what I call a "Woolworths Tavern", since Woolworths started buying up pubs and become the largest liquor supplier in the country. Old traditional pubs like "the Billi" have been homogenised out of existence into these bland sterile places with 19 televisions and you wouldn't know where you were once inside - no character and disinterested staff working for a corporate giant. The Billi is how pubs used to be in Australia.
This old pub used to be run by an old lady known as Ma Ring for many decades and she was over a hundred when she died. Ma took up the licence in 1929, arriving from Barcaldine where she had been a partner in a Hotel. For many years later all the stock arrived by Rail. Almost every parcel was addresed simply with initials M.A.R. The name stuck and most people in town had forgotten that her real name was Margaret Alice Ring. It was something of a tradition at the New Brighton that Mar took up her position in the quaint little Saloon Bar around 5 and the locals would vie for the honour of buying her a glass of beer.
An ardent card player, Mar gave her unique style to the watering hole which still bears her name. Her MBE, awarded in 1971 was recognition of her support for the Ambulance, Red Cross and School of Arts Hall. Mar continued as licensee until her death in 1983 aged 101!When Bob hawke was president of the ACTU he visited the Pub and Mar gave him a twenty minute lecture on how to serve a good beer. Short pull and clean pipes.
It is truly a classic older style Aussie Pub, just as it has been for who know how long, across the railway tracks at the tiney village of Billinudgel, just past Brunswick Heads off the Pacific Highway if you are heading north.
A one horse town!
The locals are among the friendliest people and the most fun people you will ever meet. I don't think this town knows what a stranger is... Just mates they haven't met yet! They put on interesting local music Friday- Sunday, a poker comp, raffles and some cheap, pretty average pub meals - nothing classy but you'll be satisfied. It's a great destination for a weekend lunch and ride, if you are a motor bike enthusiast.
Pretty plain rooms to stay in upstairs , clean and cheap, shared bathroom down the hall, nothing special here either but ok. The music goes off at the Billi so that's the big attraction. With a band out the back in the big open grassy beer garden on a hot sunny day there can be hundreds turn up and party on. They have a great open mike session on Sunday afternoons with a full band to back you if you have a bit of musical talent. It's not far from the Byron Bay Blues Festival and Splendour in the Grass. Humble Pies are on the right on the way into Billinudgel - some of the best most varied pies anywhere in Australia. It floods in Billinudgel sometimes and you'll have to swim in for a beer!