The Tavern at Bannisters Port Stephens has had a complete re-build and renovation since this article was written. Completion date of the new Tavern will be early 2020.
Exceptional pub grub, at this family friendly venue
The Tavern is a casual sports bar and pub underneath the luxury Bannisters Hotel Port Stephens, located at Soldiers Point. The whole property is positioned on a hill just 50 metres from the water, with a short walk down to a fishing pier and narrow beach to have a swim. Upstairs from the Tavern there are two other dining options - The Terrace Bar is at the top, which has tables overlooking the pool, as well as Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant - which is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in the whole region.
Underneath it all, The Tavern is a more casual option which is enjoyed by locals and visitors to the hotel, after a swim or just to enjoy a more relaxed, pub atmosphere. If you enter from the Bannisters car park, you walk through the gaming area and public bar, however, if you come in from the water side of the hotel, you can find a spot to relax with water views, pool tables and retro rock music. It is the ideal place to chill out in style.
View from the back of the hotel, up to the various dining options
When you walk in, you can choose to sit on comfy couches, long tables or intimate tables for two. This air-conditioned option is popular in the hotter months, however, if you choose to sit at the tables outside, you will also get a refreshing sea breeze that rolls in over the grass from the Port Stephens bay.
Ensure you grab a menu from the bar and peruse the options. Our family have visited this venue a few times now, meeting up with friends or visiting on our own, and everything we have tried has been exceptional. We have enjoyed the relaxed ambience, the location and the sea breeze, but we go back every time for the food. It is worth going back for, time and time again.
Lunch and Dinner Menu, correct as of February 2018
If you have kids, they will enjoy running out on the grass or sitting at the table and colouring-in the Kids Menu, which you can pick up from the bar. The Kids Menu has $15 meals, which includes a drink an ice-cream, which always goes down a treat!
Kids Menu which they can colour in, and Spaghetti Bolognaise ($15 for meal, drink and ice-cream)
After your meal, relax with a wine from their wine list, put some money in the jukebox, play a game of pool or go for a leisurely walk over the grass and down the path to the Soldiers Point Jetty. Enjoy the views out to the entrance to the bay, as well as watching the locals trying their luck fishing off the end. There is also a beach next to the jetty, which is romantic to walk along after dinner, particularly if it is low tide and there is a wide stretch of squeaky white sand to walk along. Also keep an eye out for dolphins, as they swim close to shore following large schools of fish.
The Tavern is a relaxing venue to enjoy this weekend. It is casual, friendly and welcoming, with food that will make you want to go back and try more of the menu. It is the perfect place to unwind after exploring the scenic Port Stephens region.