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Published October 25th 2017
Pick a winner
The race that stops the nation requires good food and alcohol as a minimum in order to celebrate this once a year event on the first Tuesday in November. Music and entertainment are a plus as is a place to put that bet on.
Sydney has many venues with various offerings that take part in this race tradition. Here are some top spots to make it a day to remember:-
Set to open in time for Melbourne Cup after extensive renovations, the Cargo has two options for patrons and it all depends on whether you want more food or more alcohol. Both packages are $125 per person with the downstairs option being a 3 course set menu with Champagne on arrival and the upstairs option being a cocktail party with canapés and a 3 hour beverage package.
Sweepstakes and live coverage of the race are also part of these options as is a DJ popping out the tunes after the race.
When: 12.00pm-5.00pm Where: King St Wharf, 52-60 The Promenade, Darling Harbour
Tramsheds, Harold Park
Multiple restaurants in this food precinct give you plenty of choice for Melbourne Cup day lunch, including set menus from Middle Eastern Kitchen Bekya for $60 per person and the sustainable Fish & Co for $85 per person. Both are based on 2 people attending.
Artisan Lane, the place for pop-ups within this precinct, will see both a pop-up restaurant and a pop-up bar, courtesy of Bodega 1904. A 4 course meal and a glass of Champagne Pol Roger NV on arrival will cost $90 for a single ticket whilst, for a party of 15 or more friends, a Gold VIP section ticket comes in at $100 per person and includes a special roped off area with your very own big screen to watch the race on. The food includes a variety of seafood, such as oysters, kingfish and calamari with accompaniments, along with dessert.
This laneway bar complete with a Champagne room, rococo chairs, chandeliers and cozy booths is putting on a lavish 4 course lunch that looks delicious. For $135 per person, you get a glass of Mumm Champagne on arrival, an appetizer of pink salmon tartar melon, an entree of slow roasted pork belly and accompaniments, a choice of mains that include Angus beef sirloin and pink snapper fillet with vegetables or salad and a choice of mouth-watering desserts, such as lemon pie double cream and chocolate mud ice cream Frangelico sauce with crushed roasted hazlenuts.
Sweepstakes and prizes are up for grabs as part of the event and amazing cocktails, wines and Champagne specials will have you partying on long after the race with entertainment into the night.
For New Orleans culture and cuisine, try Nola's colourful Southern hospitality with water views over Jones Bay Wharf. Hanging ferns, wicker chairs and white timber panelling add to the atmosphere of this melting pot of multiculturalism with its spirited-driven bar.
Melbourne Cup day sees live music, best dressed prizes and multiple screens to watch the race on whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne Taittinger on arrival and an abundance of canapés over 3.5 hours for $90 per person.
If you can't leave your desk for that long, fear not as there is a cup after party on until closing time.
When: 12.00pm-3.30pm Where: 1fl, Tower 1, 100 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney
The Paragon Hotel, Circular Quay
Park the emails and turn off the computer as a garden party on Melbourne Cup day is what you'll find at this city pub with its rooftop bar and courtyard surrounded by greenery. For $150 per person, enjoy a 4 hour premium beverage package and canapé menu with Veuve Clicquot on arrival.
This newly-opened restaurant and bar has a riverside race day planned with an all-inclusive food and beverage package that will see nobody leaving hungry or thirsty. Indulge in a charcuterie of cheese, meats and breads, along with mini burgers, mini pizza, mini pumpkin risotto, steak and more whilst downing beverages that include wine and beer, Chivas cocktails, Chandon cocktails and Veuve Clicquot Champagne.
The beautiful floral-inspired event space of the glass Calyx is the setting for a lunch hosted by the Botanic Gardens Restaurant this Melbourne Cup day and you'll feel a world away from the city, in company with the latest exhibition, Pollination.
Vibrant coloured florals, set against the largest living wall in Australia, are the backdrop for your colleagues and friends to enjoy a floral cocktail party. For $98 per person, savour a glass of sparkling on arrival, beautifully styled grazing stations with canapés, charcuterie, cheeses and dessert. There's a lot of choice in the canapés that include pepper seared sirloin, grilled haloumi wrapped in prosciutto and Cumberland pork sausage rolls, to name a few.
Available to purchase from the bar is an extensive list of beverages, including Gin Garden Bombay Sapphire cocktails (sounds exotic).
A DJ will be on hand delivering tunes and the race can be watched live on a big screen.
For a more relaxed dining experience beachside, head to the east and the Clovelly Hotel with its huge beer garden, bistro and lounge bar. For $50 per person on cup day, you can enjoy a glass of Chandon or a schooner of Pure Blonde on arrival as well as 15 roaming canapés and a long charcuterie station. Bookings can be made by calling 8569 2500.
Cloey's bistro is also accepting walk-ins on the day with a limited menu and no booking required. Very rare for a day such as Cup day.
All the race day action will be on big screens so you don' miss a second of it.
Take a day's leave and skip work altogether to discover this trendy inner city street and its surrounding laneways. Make it a morning of shopping at the living mall, Central Park, then head to lunch at a chic restaurant and bar, of which there are many.
Kensington Street Social, within the Old Clare Hotel, has a special 4 course set luncheon to share on Cup day that includes a glass of Champagne Taittinger NV Cuvee , Angassi rock oysters, Alpine salmon, Paroo kangaroo tartar, rump of lamb, dessert and an artisan cheese selection for $120 per person, whilst you watch the races. Bookings are essential at 8277 8533.
When: From 12.00pm Where: 3 Kensington St, Chippendale
The Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House
From our iconic bridge, harbour and Opera House to the city skyline, there's lots of views to enjoy at this outdoor bar with 16 large screens that will put you in the forefront of all the Cup action. Sweeps, best dressed prizes and live music all day are in good company with food and beverages galore.
This year the Opera Bar will host a stand-up canapés event for groups of 50 or more whilst walk-ins for smaller groups are allowed but you will need to get in early to get a great spot.
The menus and packages at time of writing were still to be finalised but you can sign up here to be the first in the know.
When: Kitchen open 11.30am-midnight Where: Macquarie St, Sydney
The Deck, Luna Park
With the iconic smiling face of Luna Park and some of Sydney's best waterfront views, it's hard to go past The Deck's dining and stylish luncheon on Melbourne Cup day. For $110 per person, you can settle in with an arrival canapé, a 3 course set menu and a complimentary glass of sparkling. The menu includes seafood for entree, Waygu beef cheek for main and chocolate petit gateaux for dessert. Furthermore, a carousel ride is included (available from 12-4pm).
Full television coverage of the races will be screened and there will be sweeps and lucky door prizes in addition to best-dressed prizes.
Bookings via email@example.com or by phoning 9033 7670.
When: Bar opens at 11.30am with entrees served at 12.30pm Where: 1 Olympic Drv, Milsons Point
Braza, Darling Quarter
Close up shop and do your horsin' around Latin American style at this unique and lively restaurant with an authentic Brazilian BBQ. Two packages are available on Cup day – the first is an all you can eat traditional churrasco with a glass of sparkling wine for $58 per person and the second is a canapés function with a standard drinks package for $69 per person (minimum of 20 people). The latter is pre-order only.
When: From 12.00pm onwards Where: 1-25 Harbour St, Sydney
The Star, Pyrmont
Last but certainly not least, The Star's restaurants and bars are hosting spectacular feasts for all you colts and fillies with a best-dressed competition.
If you want to go Japanese then try Sokyo with a special cup dish or for an Italian 4 course menu and entertainment before the race then try Balla. Harvest Buffet is putting on an all-you-can-eat feast that includes a large oyster display whilst cocktail bar Cherry has a 3-hour canapés and beverage package. There's also the 24/7 Sports bar with live entertainment, fashions of The Star, a menu of hot and cold food and an LED screen to catch the race; and the very cool Rock Lily music venue and tequila bar with rock 'n' roll decor and LA-based pop artist/DJ Havana Brown appearing from 8pm.