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Don't get left behind at the gates
Revellers at last year's Melbourne Cup celebrations. Image courtesy Brisbane Racing Club.
You've hit the treadmill, considered your dress, hat and shoes, but can't quite make it to Flemington this year? The 2014 Emirates Melbourne Cup is just around the corner, so if you're planning to snap up tickets to one of Brisbane's many functions, you'll need to get your skates on. Of course, picking a winner is never, particularly with so many Cup Day celebrations to choose from. So here's a ready reference guide to Brisbane's best bashes - to suit everything from beer to champagne budgets.
The Brisbane Racing Club at Doomben throws opens its gates at 10am, with a range of packages commencing at 11.30am. There are some super-premium options among them (see below), but if you're watching your pennies, you can't go past general admission for $20 pre-purchased online ($29 on the day). You'll get to enjoy the excitement of eight live races, Fashions on the Field and the big race telecast on screens throughout the course. Or you could head to The Fox Hotel in South Brisbane, where just $35 will buy you a two-course meal and a glass of bubbly in the Long Bar - making this deal unbeatable value.
If you're on more of a midstrength budget, then there's plenty to choose from here too. You could opt to Moo for Melbourne Cup at Cowch in South Bank - $49 per person ($45 per person for groups of 10 or more) will see you enjoying bubbles on arrival, dining on dessert-style canapes and savouring a decadent cocktail of your choice. Another option is Paddington's Blue Room Cinebar which will provide a red carpet greeting, glass of sparkling rose on arrival, hot and cold canapes through the day, sweepstakes, lucky door prizes, awards for best dressed and a fresh glass of pre-race bubbles for just $55 per person.
Hat's off ... or on! Image courtesy Flemington Racecourse and Victoria Racing Club.
A little step up in price, but still under $100, is The Chelsea Bistro in the heritage-listed Barracks building. Three decadent courses with inclusions such as roast Wagyu rump with smoked forest mushrooms, spinach puree, currant jam and crisp proscuitto, plus all the usual race action, is yours for $85 per person. Or there's Cove Bar and Dining in South Bank offering a three course luncheon overlooking spectacular river views, also for $85. Can't quite stretch that far? The Fox Hotel's Fish Lane Bistro has four courses plus bubbly for $79 per person.
Reaching up into the more luxurious ranks, you can't go past Wild Canary at Brookfield where for $135 per person you can enjoy a sumptuous feast comprising canapes on arrival, followed by house-cured limoncello salmon nicoise; chermoula-marinated Mooloolaba prawns, roast Moroccan salad and harissa yoghurt; grilled spatchcock breast, truffled pearl barley risotto, mushrooms and asparagus; vanilla panacotta with fruit minestrone; petit fours and a 3.5 hour drinks package featuring Mumm champagne. Other options in this price range include Jellyfish Restaurant or Cha Cha Char, both of which specify a $150 per person minimum spend. Or check the Stamford Plaza's Cup Day deal for $179 per person.
Stretching right up to the top shelf now, the Brisbane Racing Club's10,000 Restaurant on the top level of the Members' Grandstand boasts unparalleled racecourse views. For $380 plus entry ticketing, you'll dine on a delectable three courses while enjoying all the race action. Or you might like to partake in a three-course menu complemented by premium beverages (think Bollinger Champagne for starters) at the Brisbane Racing Club's silk-lined Top Shelf Marquee for $490 per person. This buys you a great spot on the trackside deck, or the opportunity to view the races from the comfort of your table.