Barton is a suburb located outside the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra, just a short walk from Parliament House. Due to its central location, it is home to many of the city's government departments and agencies - so it has literally hundreds of public servants leaving their desks at lunchtime and looking for a quick bite to eat, a good takeaway coffee or a full sit-down lunch. For the rest of us, however, it is also an enjoyable area to try out some of the eateries, restaurants and cafes they have on offer.
When you drive around the office buildings and hotels of Barton, you don't see many cafes lining the streets - but they are still there - tucked away on the ground floors of government buildings, hotels or under ornamental car parks. Some are only open between Monday to Friday to cater to the local workers, however there are a few open on weekends too - when it is much quieter. The following are some of the best ones that I have discovered, however please leave a comment on the top of this article if you have another Barton favourite. Some may be tucked away, such as Double Drummer below, which makes them even more of a delight to find...
Double Drummer, open for coffee, breakfast and lunch between Monday and Friday...
Double Drummer can be found at the start of the National Circuit that runs through Barton, closest to the national galleries. It is in an unusual location in the middle of a block, so it can also be accessed by Macquarie Street - just a short distance from Little Bird cafe (next on this list). This surprisingly spacious cafe and bar is only open between Monday to Friday, however it is worth tracking down if you are in the area - and even if you aren't. The outside is welcoming with large tables, wine barrels and a manicured garden - which is the perfect location for their live music on Friday nights. When you walk inside, the large dining area has dozens of tables to choose from, a TV to watch the latest news and a wide array of healthy lunch items in the display cabinets and on the menu. See here for details.
Little Bird Cafe is located on the corner of Macquarie Street and Broughton Street, under the ornamental facade of a multi-story car park. This friendly cafe is a favourite in our family and one of the best breakfast cafes in Canberra, in our opinion. It is one of the few Barton cafes that are open on the weekends and it has a relaxed, slow pace without the weekday hustle and bustle. Dog walkers come up from Lake Burley Griffin, guests from local hotels pop in for breakfast and families arrive for a quiet breakfast or lunch. The food is full of flavour, the servings are generous and the menu has a wide range of tasty and creative options. See here for details. For a full article on Little Bird, see here.
Hideout is a coffee outlet located close to the two cafes above - back over on the National Circuit. This cafe is open Mondays to Fridays only and is particularly popular with local workers for takeaway coffees, with a loud speaker system out the front to call people when their coffees are ready. Inside they have a small range of sweet treats to compliment their coffee, which are equally as delicious. Their signage out the front asks "Have you tried Canberra's Best Cup of Coffee?" - which is a big statement to make, however when you try it - they may be right! For a full article on Hideout, see here.
Ritual is located down at the other end of the National Circuit in the Hotel Realm precinct. This popular cafe can be found underneath the Little National Hotel and is enjoyed by hotel guests and local office workers. It is the perfect spot to pop in for a coffee, muffin or toasted sandwich during the working week. See here for details.
Maple and Clove is a wholefoods cafe that can be found on the opposite side of Hotel Realm on Burbury Close, overlooking the leafy Realm Park. This sophisticated and modern cafe is open on weekends, as well as during the week, so it can be enjoyed by the whole community. The menu is healthy and fresh, the cafe is spacious and the staff are friendly - you will want to go back time and time again. See here for details.
Maple and Clove is also open during the Night Market Canberra events, which are held at Realm Park during the summer months. Shop for Christmas gifts, listen to live music and enjoy the food options for a dinner on the lawns.
Modern and healthy at Maple and Clove, opposite Hotel Realm
Barton is also home to another popular market that is held four times a year, in the car park of the Little National Hotel. The Forage foodie market begins in the afternoon for a late lunch and continues on until 7pm, so you can sit back and spend the afternoon enjoying delicious food, live music, lawn games and a festive atmosphere.
When you drive through Barton, it is more than meets the eye. It has foodie events, cafes, restaurants, Happy Hour, live music and the "Best coffee in Canberra". Just a boring government suburb near Parliament House? I don't think so...
The Forage, held in the carpark of the Little National Hotel four times a year