We all love those local venues where everyone knows your name and chilling out with mates is considered a weekly event – the Golden Age of mixing and mingling over a bite and a brew.
Whether it is a well-loved watering hole around the corner or a cosy wine bar where a lively buzz of conversation fills the air and your glass is always half-full, here are five of our favourite venues to enjoy time with family and friends:
Celebrating Local Produce
Drink, dine and hear the stories of the people behind the produce at Edwin Wine Bar and Cellar on City Road at Southbank. With a simple philosophy of celebrating and supporting local people and produce, this fun and funky wine bar offers an escape from the chaos of the city with a warm welcome extending into the timeless and elegant cellar room – the ideal space for intimate dinners and corporate events.
Sip on an Edwin's Aviation gin cocktail and slurp up oysters with kimchi and furikake, or barramundi wings and ras el hanout; before larger plates such as grass-fed Scotch fillet, broccoli, house mash and jus gras, or blue eye cod, red pepper, pine nuts and artichoke.
Cunningly Versatile Pub
Find a decidedly modern take on food and drinks while maintaining old-school charm at Collingwood watering hole The Fox Hotel on Wellington Street. This cunningly versatile pub turned modern eatery projects a relaxed, welcoming vibe with rustic charm from recycled timber and well-worn brick, while a rooftop deck beckons on balmy days for chilling out with a bite and brew.
From a menu of pub classics with a twist, don’t go past Moreton Bay bug and prawn pie, with mash, broccolini and garlic butter; or chow down on a Wagyu beef and bacon burger, with lettuce, pickle, caramelised onion, cheese, aioli and chips, washed down with an ice-cold pint.
Midweek Belly Dancing
A modern interpretation of where the Middle East meets the Mediterranean is on the menu at Bar Beirut on Garema Place in the heart of Canberra’s CBD. Join the midweek belly dancing and burlesque fun as you chill out with a refreshing cocktail, such as a Wasabi Martini, in surrounds of banquette seating, moody lighting and a well-stocked bar.
Embark on a memorable culinary journey with kingfish tartare and mandarin chilli dressing, or honey grilled halloumi, jalapeño, mint labneh, freekeh and pistachio; moving onto memorable mains such as grilled octopus, black toum potato and a side of pumpkin with goat’s curd, dukkah and fennel.
1860s Charm & Romance
More than 150 years ago, an historic cornerstone was laid in Port Melbourne and from that day, locals have had a place to meet, catch up, celebrate and commemorate with a fine glass and good plate at The Cornerstone on Crockford Street. The 1860s’ charm and romance still greet you with original stonework and arched windows; step inside to find a comfy, modern space ideal for Sunday drinks with friends or your next big event.
Join the lively crowd for starter plates such as deep-fried calamari rings with tartar sauce, lemon wedges and mesclun; perhaps chicken curry tempts for the main, served with rice and chips, or delve into a hearty slow-cooked beef stew, with white wine, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and garlic bread.
Warm, Inviting Vibe
Find leadlight windows, high wooden ceilings and a warm, inviting vibe at the Old Dalyston Church on Dalyston-Glen Forbes Road. This beautiful Bass Coast church has been transformed into a licensed restaurant, ideal for lingering over lunch or dinner indoors among softly glowing chandeliers, arched doorways and artwork-clad walls; while a large lawn is great for the kids and also pet-friendly.
Begin your meal with lemon pepper calamari, or roasted pork belly, before picking up a slice of spicy chorizo pizza on a tomato base, with mozzarella, jalapeño and onion; burger lovers chow down on Southern fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon and coleslaw, served in a milk bun.