The Flemington Racecourse is home to the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops the nation. The Spring Carnival is a highlight on Australia's calendar for both men and women, with fashion, betting and alcohol taking the spotlight away from horses and history. But with events often completed before 6:00pm, what are attendees to do once the racing stops?
The answer is barely minutes away, with a train station on one side and a tram stop on the other: The Doutta Galla Hotel. While the location is excellent, it is the versatility and atmosphere that are truly of note. If entering the establishment during the afternoon on a weekday, tables and chairs would fill the room along with the smells of delicious cuisines and the sight of many enjoying a relaxing beverage. Switch to Friday or Saturday night, and the scene changes to a bar/club that becomes so crowded that lines are common, and entry is no given.
To begin a review, we start with the menu. The meals are affordable, large in size and full of flavour. Pub favourites make an appearance, with those such as steaks, chicken dishes and burgers available, while an assortment of pastas, curries and deserts allow for a change and surpass most restaurants in the popular area. Available drinks follow this trend, with all obvious refreshments complimented by a long list of colourful cocktails and a Doutta Galla favourite: The teapot. Everyone will be satisfied by what is on offer, not having to cringe at prices.
When the sun goes down the 'Doot' shines. On one side we have a restaurant that transforms into a bar. yet on the other is a bistro that becomes a club. Furniture is pushed aside, a DJ assumes the booth and the dance floor fills as the night progresses. Tunes shake the confinements until 3:00am on the busy nights, with current and retro tracks both on display, catering for all likes while being open to requests. Though if dancing is not your thing, there are a dozen screens that surround the room playing different sport from around the world, often with live AFL, soccer, cricket and tennis matches creating further excitement. Upstairs also contains large function rooms if a private party is desired.
The Spring Racing Carnival is a popular and much loved event, though the fun doesn't have to end when the horses stop running. The Doutta Galla Hotel represents a side of Flemington which comes to life with the occasion, though remember one important tip when leaving the track: get there before 10:00pm, or you may well miss out.