Here in Canberra, when locals want to go out for a juicy steak and an icy cold beer, they often go to the local Club. In other states, the pub may be the first choice, however in Canberra there are more clubs than pubs to choose from. Why is this? When we first moved to Canberra we weren't sure ourselves, however it may have something to do with the ACT being a "dry state" between 1911 - 1928, and locals would just go over the border to NSW to drink alcohol instead. There are some historical pubs around from this time, however current city favourites include King O' Malley's, PJ's and The Civic Pub. It also seems that the more modern gastropubs are more popular around the city, such as Bentspoke Brewery (Braddon), The Duxton (O'Connor), Public Bar (Manuka), as well as Walt and Burley and The Dock on the Kingston Foreshore.
If it is a Club that you are looking for however, with reasonably priced meals, family friendly kids areas and Friday night raffles, then head down to any of these clubs for an enjoyable night in Canberra. There are 3 in particular that are the largest, however all of these mentioned below have something to offer - every night of the week.
The Southern Cross Club has a number of outlets around the city, however their club at Woden is the largest. They have a few dining options to choose from including the Golden Grille for your roasts, steak and club meals, Henry's Family Restaurant for kid friendly meals by the indoor playground and Thai Chiang Rai Restaurant for a more authentic dining experience. This spacious club also has raffles, concerts in their upstairs function rooms and lounge areas to sit with a wine and chat with friends. This is just one of three Canberra clubs that consistently win awards for its dining options, facilities or community involvement.
The Hellenic Club is also in Woden, just a short drive from the Southern Cross Club above. It is a large club for the Greek community - and the whole community - to come together. There are four food outlets inside the Club - Orexi by Baxevanis (Greek), Ginseng (Chinese), Bistro and Café. This award-winning club is a popular place to visit for New Years Eve, Christmas parties and community events in their large carpark. For families there is an indoor playground called Play World and a range of healthy kids meals to choose from. Visually, it is also particularly impressive from the front, with its large pillars and grand entrance.
The Gungahlin Lakes Club (known as "The Lakes") is another large Club that wins awards for its facilities and dining options. This club overlooks the Gungahlin Lakes Golf Club, so the views from the large windows are green and undulating. There are three options to choose from when dining here - The Lakes restaurant for steaks, schnitzels and club food, Aroma Pizza and Burgers and Ripples café. There are family friendly meals to choose from and a soft play kids room and games area to enjoy. If you join the club and visit on a Monday night, kids eat free in The Lakes restaurant. This large club is a popular venue for the Gungahlin community to get together all year around. See here for restuarant opening times.
If you are looking for a club in the CBD, check out The City Labor Club, which is located in the heart of the city. Smaller clubs include Hellenic Club City and Canberra City Bowling Club. Most of these clubs have rules about attire in the evenings (eg. no thongs) or may require you to be a member of the club - however it usually costs around $5 for one person to join and then they can sign everyone else in.
Wherever you go tonight, or this weekend, you are sure to have a tasty dining experience, encounter friendly staff and feel part of the community at any ACT Club. With so many quality restaurants in the region, Clubs work hard to attract people in the doors with modern décor, quality dining options and competitive prices. With such juicy steaks and icy cold beers, you may find yourself there again tomorrow night!
Image: Original photos supplied by Gungahlin Lakes Club website