Public is a popular bar and restaurant in the exclusive suburb of Manuka, just minutes from Canberra's CBD. This bar is situated on a busy corner with industrial décor, hip staff, colourful cocktails and an abundance of style. As you walk through the glass doors, the inside opens up with high ceilings with an atrium of hanging pots and industrial drop pendants. There are handmade tiles around the dining area, a smooth wooden bar that invites you to touch it and a fireplace to keep diners toasty. With so much style in one place, people who have never been there before just simply stand in the doorway, taking it all in.
The friendly staff will welcome you and find you a table, where you can decide between high bar seating, long tables, bar tables along the windows or curved booths for larger groups. Wherever you sit, you can take in the edgy ambience of this inviting bar and restaurant in Manuka's restaurant scene.
If you are looking for somewhere to start your day, Public's Breakfast Menu has an extensive list of tasty dishes to choose from. Their Lunch and Sharing Menu also has a good range of pizzas, salads and pastas. Most meals are priced between $20 - $30 which is quite pricey, however normal for most Manuka restaurants. Most of the meals that come out of the open kitchen were presented on large chopping boards and were reasonably generous in size. For dinner, check out their Mains Menu for a peek at what delicious meals they have in store and if you wish to just stay for a drink they have cocktails, beers and an extensive wine list.
On our visit we arrived just before the local lunchtime crowd and we were lucky to have found a high table by the bar. Within minutes of noon, each table was full and the food was efficiently coming out of the open kitchen. The pizzas in particular looked delicious, so we ordered a "Chipotle chicken, roasted capsicum and spanish onion pizza" ($24) and a "Public Caesar - cos, pancetta, parmesan, croutons, anchovy, poached egg" ($26) to share. The table was silent as we devoured every last bite of the pizza, which had a good amount of chipotle heat on a soft dough. Equally as delicious was the crunchy Caesar Salad with chunky pieces of chicken breast and large tasty croutons.
The town of Manuka, where Public is centrally located, is the ideal place to visit for boutiques, quaint cafes and modern and industrial restaurants. This prestigious area was one of Canberra's earliest suburbs, with the village shops built between 1925 and 1930. If you want choice of where to go for lunch or dinner, then park your car and walk around the main block or through the leafy courtyards and take your pick.
Now in its fifth year, Public is a regular place for locals to visit. It is owned by the COCU Group that also own a number of successful restaurants, bars and nightclubs around the city. As it has two large TVs it is also an ideal destination to watch Grand Finals and the Melbourne Cup.
It is easy to see why Public is a popular venue for locals and visitors, with a busy and edgy vibe that makes you want to stay for awhile. During Winter there is the fireplace and outside heaters to keep diners toasty and during Summer the outside dining area is an ideal spot to enjoy a cold beer or wine in the shade. If you are in Manuka, ensure you track it down and stop for awhile for lunch or an afternoon drink.
With such an inviting area to just relax, you may find yourself still there for dinner.