A north Queensland family will spend the night hunkered down in a pub as category two Cyclone Dylan barrels towards the coast.

North Queenslander Bruce Marshall reckons his 150-year-old pub is the safest place to be when a tropical cyclone bears down.

“She’s been through a fair few cyclones… she’s real sturdy,” Mr Marshall told AAP as he poured a beer at the Grandview Hotel in Bowen, north of Mackay.

The 51-year-old, his partner Toni Bradtke, 42, her daughter Emma, 12, and the family dog Maggie will be camped out at the hotel when Cyclone Dylan makes landfall in the early hours of Friday.

The category two cyclone is expected to reach the mainland at Ayr or Bowen, bringing with it furious winds, torrential rain and storm surges.

Forecasters predict winds up to 150km/h.

Mr Marshall, who has managed the Grandview for about three years, reckons it’s the safest place to be because its survived numerous cyclones and a couple of fires.

On Thursday night, hours before the cyclone was expected to hit, locals sat at the bar sipping beer making predictions about the severity of the storm.

It will be Bowen chef John Williams’ first cyclone experience.

“We don’t get anything like this in England,” Mr Williams, who has lived in Australia for the past three years, told AAP.

He says it’ll be something to write home about.

“I’ve heard a lot about cyclones but I’ve never witnessed one.”

Meanwhile, Mr Marshall and his family have laid out mattresses on the ground floor of the pub ready for what they say will be a sleepless night.

They’ve decided to stay at the pub because their house, just down the road, often floods during severe storms and they’re not taking any risks.

“It was terrible here today, we had two big boats come up on the foreshore,” he said.

“The glass here has been covered in seaspray and the windows have been rattling.

“We’ve just got to see how it goes.”