Knock three times at the almost unseen door along Scott Street and wait for staff to let you into a past world of elegant baroque-style charm. A softly lit wine bar awaits you as you enter an intimate space complete with old-fashioned armchairs and fancy chandeliers. (You don't really need to knock to be let in).
The door closes behind you, drowning out the hustle and bustle of downtown Newcastle. What lies before you is a secret worth sharing.
The wait staff greet you familiarly while they guide you to your little nook. Most of the table settings are uniquely tucked behind curtains or timber furniture so you can wine and dine in your own space. There are even separate small rooms for groups to truly enjoy each other's company while being waited on.
Longworth House's tapas and wine bar is located in the building's old drawing room. The building also houses a ballroom and boardroom to cater for distinctive weddings and functions. It's the tapas and wine bar that is most popular to the public though, offering a Mediterranean-inspired seasonal menu available from 5pm to midnight Wednesday through to Saturday.
As you sink into your lounge chair and sip on one of the world-renowned wines, you discover this is a night to be enjoyed slowly, bite-by-bite, sip-by-sip. The waitress knows this too. She wants nothing more than to see a group of people relax and enjoy the flavoursome food and wine.
The menu is constantly changing, but you can expect delicious tapas such as potato bravas, seared scallops, chicken lollipops, pork belly, mixed olives, beef sliders, mini lamb ribs and many more options. Gourmet desserts and a range of cocktails are also available.
With all of this indulgence you're probably thinking it's not very affordable, but the prices are reasonable. With an extended evening consisting of plenty of food, bottle of wine and dessert to share between two, expect to pay around $50 each.
When you look at the history of Longworth House, its plain to see how this building emanates such timeless beauty. A prominent Newcastle architect, Frederick Burnhardt Menkens, designed the carved sandstone structure in 1892 and it is considered to be one of his masterpieces.
It was once the intellectual centre of Newcastle, used as an art gallery, library and musical recital hall. The premises also operated as the Air Force Club for a period of time before the building fell into disrepair. Longworth House, as it is known today, was fully restored and reopened to the public in September 2009.
As one of Newcastle's greatest heritage buildings, it's no wonder the tapas and wine bar now exudes old-world romance and dramatic grandeur. Yet, somehow all of this elegance and history combines to create an environment that is inviting, warm and relaxing…. sort of like you're dining at your charmingly sweet great grandfather's home.