It’s been a rough ride for restaurants and pubs across the country since the COVID-19 outbreak, but things are slowly starting to look up for the hospitality industry.
NSW venues are now allowed 50 patrons; Queensland, Victoria and ACT establishments can welcome 20 people; South Australian establishments can accommodate 80 guests; venues in Western Australia can host 100 people; and in the Northern Territory, most venues are functioning as normal.
In Tasmania, 20 people will be allowed to eat out in a venue from June 15.
As establishments open their doors again, plenty are offering special offers to welcome customers back. Here are some of the best around this Queen’s birthday long weekend...
Sydney’s Bondi Beach Public Bar is offering 50 per cent off all food and a selection of drinks every day until the end of June. Head to the beachfront bar to enjoy $9 burgers, $5 tacos, $10 margaritas and espresso martinis.
The best bit: A whole roast free-range chicken with fries and cos heart salad for $22.50 (was $45). Book here.
Head to bibo Wine Bar in Sydney’s Double Bay for the ultimate re-opening experience. They are offering an eight-course set menu for $100, that includes many of the most popular dishes from their menu over the past four years. Plus, you get a glass of champagne, beer or a cocktail when you arrive.
The best bit: Don’t miss out on their infamous sweet Portuguese tarts. Bookings are essential.
Newcastle’s Bella Italia Ristorante is known for its crispy-based pizzas, which are usually around $25. As they reopen, they’re doing a lunch menu where a selection of pizzettas are available for $12, and a range of their pasta dishes for $14, also around half the usual price.
The best bit: Instead of importing their ingredients from Italy as usual, they’re using locally sourced products. It’s best to make a booking before you turn up.
If you’re in Shellharbour, Rouse Hill, Macarthur, Charlestown or Bondi, head to the Bavarian for weekday happy hours, where you’ll get 300ml beers, spirits and house wine for $5, and 500ml beers for $7.50.
The best bit: There will be contactless, tap and go menus to eliminate the need for menus on the table.
Moon Dog World in Melbourne’s Preston is offering food and drink packages for $55, which includes a main meal, such as crispy skin barramundi fillet or eggplant parma, plus bottomless Moon Dog tap beers, house wines, ciders and soft drinks for two hours. Kids packages are $20 for a main meal, ice-cream sandwich and soft drinks. Plus, when you book, you’ll get 10 per cent off all future takeaway orders too.
The best bit: Moon Dog’s craft beers are excellent. How many can you try in two hours?
Book here, and be warned; there’s a $20 cancellation fee if you cancel within 48 hours of your booking.
If you want to make social distancing a certainty, eat your dinner in an igloo. Along with three other guests you can eat in the confines of a glass bubble and fairy lights, in three of Melbourne’s pubs, The Auburn Hotel, The Station Hotel and The Wharf Hotel. Pay between $49 and $69 for the choice of a seafood feast, short rib croquettes, or braised beef cheek (depending on the venue) plus unlimited drinks.
The best bit: All drinks can be ordered via an app so you don’t have to leave your igloo.
Ballarat favourite Meigas is reopening and they’re offering a “Feed Me” menu to woo guests back. Expect a selection of their most-loved dishes — hopefully that means their croquetas — plus dessert for $65 per person.
The best bit: Garlic prawns, patatas bravas, the list goes on…Bookings are necessary.
Heading out to the Mornington Peninsula? Don’t go past Red Gum BBQ in Red Hill. The biggest BBQ and beer hall in Australia is offering a free Red Gum Pilsner, house wine or soft drink when you sit down to dine with one of their special set menu offers. The $55 deal will get you beef brisket, pulled pork, coleslaw, mac n cheese, bean chilli and dill pickle.
The best bit: Locally sourced meats, home-brewed sauces and the brisket chilli fries. You must book to reserve a table.
Brisbane’s Fat Angel Sports Bar and Grill are offering two-hour party packages with unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks, plus an American-style feast which means cheeseburgers, Reuben sandwiches and jalepeno poppers for $79 a head, for up to 10 people.
The best bit: The timings of the party packages coincide with NRL games being aired so you can feast and cheer at the same time. Email to book a spot
The one-hatted 85 Miskin Street in Brisbane’s Toowong is the ultimate date night spot. Now it’s back open and offering an eight-course degustation for $99, or $159 with matching wines. Not enough appetite? There’s also a five-course tasting menu for $65 a person.
The best bit: The apple and bourbon spritzer that’s matched with the first plate is to die for.
Seatings are timed and must be booked.
Get some real bang for your buck with a Fraser Island ‘Day Away’ package. You’ll get lunch by the pool at The Sand Bar, Kingfisher Bay Resort, as well as use of the pools and walking trails, a return ferry transfer from Hervey Bay and a ranger-guided resort morning walk, all for $69. Available Fridays – Sundays.
The best bit: Shake off your post-lunch slump with a dip in the pool. Bookings are essential.
Head out of lockdown in style at the Burleigh Pavilion on the Gold Coast. To celebrate welcoming diners back, they’re offering the chance to book out their Beach Bar for 10 people at $150 a person. That gets you a meal of Sydney rock-oysters, prawns, braised lamb shoulder, salads and warm apple tart — plus a package of rose, white or red wine, beers or soft drinks.
The best bit: Feeling like you’re a VIP as you eat overlooking the ocean. Spots are limited so book fast.
Penfolds Magill Estate Kitchen in Adelaide is re-opening on June 5, and celebrating by offering a ‘Chef’s Choice’ menu; two courses and a glass of wine is $65, or three courses with a glass wine is $85.
The best bit: Nearly all produce is locally sourced. Bookings are essential.
When it opens on June 5, The Barossa’s Harvest Kitchen is offering a “Feed Me Like a Barossan” menu for $49 or $59 with dessert or cheese. The menu is based around local products, so expect great meat, cheese and freshly made bread.
The best bit: Fennel salt butter on Harvest sourdough. Book here.
Canberra’s two-hatted Aubergine in Griffith is reopening on June 10 with a new menu and an offer of 5 courses for $120 (normally four courses for $105). The menu is still being refined, but they are renowned for their fresh, innovative dishes.
The best bit: Chef Ben Willis has been working on a new menu throughout lockdown, so expect some exciting flavours. Bookings are essential.
Bar Rochford in Canberra is open for bookings and doing a $50 set lunch snacks menu, which includes liver parfait, anchovy toast, oysters, and French onion galette.
The best bit: Their extensive wine list including European orange wine. Walk-ins are accepted but reserve a table to avoid missing out.
Mack Daddy’s in Perth’s Mount Lawley is offering a $45 pizza feast with a starter, large pizza, a side dish and two alcoholic drinks if you dine in. The same deal is available for $32 without the booze. Kids options of a large slice, fries and a salad are available too.
The best bit: There are no restrictions on the pizza — half/half and vegan options are all available. Bookings available here.
The Garden in Perth’s Leederville is kicking off its reopening by offering Wine n Dine nights for one night a month until October. You’ll get four courses and a paired wine with each course for $70 a head. They’re also offering Bottomless Brunch on Sundays for $65, which includes a brunch dish, a small dessert and five glasses of either Villa Sandi Prosecco or Ketel One Botanicals.
The best bit: The wine and dine nights are themed to feature wines from a specific region or vineyard. Bookings are essential for both.
In Margaret River’s Dunsborough, local favourite Yarri is offering a “welcome back” menu. Expect a three-course set menu, which changes weekly, with Yarri’s famous sourdough on the side, for $60.
The best bit: As well as this week’s starter of Jerusalem artichokes with parmesan and hazelnut truffle, they are also open for morning tea and gourmet doughnuts. If you have a craving for glazed chocolate and hazelnut pastries with your morning coffee, this is the place. You must book to nab a table.
Darwin’s very well regarded Hanuman is open again and offering two excellent value banquet meals. Try the $58 pp meal that includes their fiery chicken chettinad and crispy whole fish, or the $70 banquet where you’ll also get four starters and dessert.
The best bit: Their nonya pork rolls are legendary. Make a reservation before turning up.
The Six Tanks Brew Pub in Darwin is offering Friday night specials, with happy hour from 4 pm, $20 Chicken Parmigiana, and 2 cocktails for $22.
The best bit: Live music every Friday and Saturday night, and now restrictions are lifted, there’s no need to book.
Smolt Kitchen in West Hobart is open for “Tappy Hour” every day between 2 pm and 4 pm where you can get a wine or beer for $7, a cocktail for $10 and pizza slices for $4. Dinner starts from 5 pm, so you can just keep on going.
The best bit: The fior de latte cheese on the pizzas. Walk-ins are accepted.
Book in couples at Hobart’s cute and cosy Templo and you’ll pay $100 a pair for dinner. Their unique wine list with natural wines is also worth a look.
The best bit: Their limited space means tables are for two people only, so social distancing is easy. Bookings are essential.
Info and pricing are correct at time of publishing.
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