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Published September 9th 2019
The jewel of Port Stephens
Shoal Bay Country Club is a stunning, two-level entertainment precinct with multiple bars, dining sections, music areas and cosy nooks to simply sit and soak up the view. It is located across the road from the scenic Shoal Bay in Port Stephens and for locals and tourists alike, it is the place to be each summer.
Known to locals as "the CC", it is open from 6:30am - 2am most days of the week (except Sunday when it closes at midnight), so you can pop in for a social afternoon with friends, share a cocktail jug and relax and enjoy the vibe of this popular, sun-filled venue. Where else would you want to be this weekend?
This white-washed, beachy venue had a $6 million dollar makeover in February 2018 and it isn't hard to see where the money was spent. The décor is fresh, modern, tropical, beachy and welcoming, with an abundance of seating areas to enjoy with friends and family. There are multiple sections to explore, depending on the time of day you visit.
If you visit in the morning, Mermaids Café is open downstairs for breakfast, with a takeaway coffee window which opens at 6:30am for early risers, then the café opens at 7am for meals. If you would like to sit outside on the street front to leisurely enjoy your coffee or breakfast, there are blue and white umbrellas to sit under and watch the world go by. Alternatively, the inside of the café is bigger than it appears from the front, with a spacious dining area and plenty of tables dotted throughout. The food is delicious, the environment is cool in summer and the café has a bustling atmosphere which makes everyone feel like they are on holidays, even if they live nearby. See here for a full article on Mermaids Café.
Start your day at Mermaids Cafe, open for breakfast only
In the centre of the building on the ground floor, there is a large courtyard with a stage for live music and kids activities each Sunday, as well as a wide fireplace to cosy up to in the winter months. As you can imagine, this spacious area is popular in the evenings, as locals and tourists mingle and enjoy the music on offer. See here for What's On this weekend.
Looking down onto the courtyard in the centre of the ground floor
Downstairs there is also a gaming area and another bar, however it is upstairs that draws many of its visitors. From the second level you get to take in the breathtaking, multi-million dollar view of the blue waters of Shoal Bay and along to Tomaree Headland. The outdoor Patio has a number of comfy seats and bar tables, which are protected from the wind and are in shade from the awning and umbrellas. This seating area is the perfect vantage point to take in the view and share a seafood platter with a wine or two, on a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Relax and take in the views from the upstairs Patio
Next to the Patio there is an indoor dining area for the main restaurant upstairs, which has modern furniture, a wood-fired pizza oven and an open kitchen to watch the chefs at work. It is light airy, welcoming, family friendly and casual, so it can be enjoyed by everyone who walks in. The Kitchen & Patio is open daily for lunch between 11:30am - 3pm (with a light menu available between 3pm-5pm), then dinner service begins at 5pm.
On a recent visit to Shoal Bay Country Club, my husband and I decided to stay for lunch and enjoy a cold beer and a pizza, whilst sitting by the window enjoying the spring-time sun. The menu was extensive, with options for every tastes and appetite. As the venue is located right on the water in Port Stephens, in an area known for its seafood, it has a good selection of seafood meals, as well as chicken, steak, salads and an extensive wood-fired pizza menu.
Enjoy lunch and dinner at the Kitchen and Patio, upstairs at the Shoal Bay Country Club
When you are ready to order, you need to go up to the bar to place your order and receive a buzzer to take back to the table. As all the meals come out together, we decided to order a Wood-fired Garlic and Herb Flatbread to eat first, then awhile later we went back up and ordered our Vegetarian pizza to share.
The pizza was cooked quickly and it was the perfect size for the two of us for lunch. The toppings were light and flavoursome and the base had the beautiful taste of being cooked in a wood fired pizza oven. It was also interesting for us to watch the wood fired pizza oven in action, with a large flame and quick-handed chef at the reigns.
Vegetarian pizza ($24) and Garlic and Herb Flatbread ($9) - order separately if you want as entree
If you are looking for one location to spend the morning, afternoon, evening - or even all day - whilst in the Shoal Bay region, you can't beat the Shoal Bay Country Club. It is casual enough that you can walk along the beach, go for a swim, put on your beach clothes and then spend the afternoon with a cold bevvie up on the Patio.
So what are you waiting for? Why don't you get some sand between your toes and visit Shoal Bay this weekend? I can guarantee that you will never want to leave...
Get your feet wet at Shoal Bay, just one of many jewels in the Port Stephens region