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Seven Ways to Celebrate Melbourne Cup in Brisbane to Suit Your Party Style

Set your work emails to 'out of office', pick out your best outfit and get ready to enjoy bottomless bubbles.
By Sarah Ward
October 21, 2019

Seven Ways to Celebrate Melbourne Cup in Brisbane to Suit Your Party Style

Set your work emails to 'out of office', pick out your best outfit and get ready to enjoy bottomless bubbles.
By Sarah Ward
October 21, 2019


in partnership with

Set your work emails to 'out of office', pick out your best outfit and get ready to enjoy bottomless bubbles.

Sometimes, you just want to stroll out of the office, gather the gang and enjoy a long boozy lunch that goes right through until late afternoon. That's hardly a practical wish on most days of the year, sadly. But on the first Tuesday in November, ducking out early and partying during the day isn't just encouraged — it's almost expected.

Regardless of your thoughts on the day's main event, plenty of Brisbane bars and restaurants will be hosting shindigs and soirees. So, whether you're into sipping and snacking in a leafy courtyard, soaking in a river view or keeping things as casual as possible, you'll find something that suits your style. To help you whittle down the options, we've put together a list of killer parties going down around town.

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    First up, you can spend an afternoon sipping sparkling in a courtyard just a stone’s throw away from the river (and in a 143-year-old pub, too). You can also enjoy a stint of high tea, help yourself to the bao bun bar and hover around the cheese and charcuterie pop-up deli. That’s all part of Regatta’s Melbourne Cup Gala, which will run from 12–3pm. Plus, you’ll score three hours of wine, sparkling, beer, cider and Chambord Royales to keep the mood high.

    When you’re not snacking on smoked salmon bagels, petit fours or your choice of bao — pick between crispy pork belly, hoisin chicken and Korean beef rib — you can tap your toes to DJ-spun tunes. Or, head on down to the Regatta’s resident underground bar, where there’ll be a live jazz trip for a cruisier mood. This multifaceted party costs $120 per person to attend and you can nab your ticket here.

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    It’s possible for a bar and restaurant to feel both luxe and relaxed — and Paddington’s greenery-filled Darling & Co is proof. So, naturally, it’s serving up Melbourne Cup Day options to match. If you’re a sit-down lunch kind of person, then settle in and get cosy. If you prefer to stand and chat with a drink in your hand, you can enjoy that type of party as well.

    Whichever you and your pals choose, you’ll drink your way through three hours of beverages, including cocktails. For folks eager to put their feet up, the $125 lunch includes three courses, plus a champagne and oyster bar. For those keen to keep bouncing around, your $105 ticket includes roving canapés, as well as a cheese and charcuterie grazing station. Once you’ve made your decision, head over here to secure your spot.

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    If you and your mates like kicking back in classic spots that have stood the test of time for a good reason, then make your way over to Fridays. One of the CBD’s mainstays for more than three decades, this Eagle Street Pier spot is all about the waterfront view — because partying on a terrace bar overlooking the river is something that never, ever gets old. Plus, to ensure you’re looking your best all day, there’ll be hair and makeup artists roaming around for complimentary touch-ups.

    Food and drink-wise, you just need to decide what you’d prefer to sip standard or premium beverages. If you opt for the former, your $125 ticket includes a two-course lunch and three hours of drinks. Or, indulge your champagne tastes for $155. To secure your spot, pop over here.

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    Prefer to do your partying in a laidback way, but still want to capitalise on the CBD’s best feature: lunching and drinking by the river? Mosey on down to Riverland on Eagle Street, which will be keeping things casual. It’s a giant garden pub stretching 80 metres along the riverfront and serving street food out of shipping containers, after all.

    Take your pick of food from one of those five shipping container kitchens — your ticket includes a $25 food voucher to use as you wish. All that’s left it to find a seat, take in the watery vantage and soak in the breeze — while listening to live tunes and knocking back three hours of beverages. Tickets cost $100 per person and can be purchased over here.

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    Do you choose your party destinations based on the food? That’s a fair call. Sometimes, it’s necessary. There’s no shortage of Brisbane spots with great views to pick from, so sometimes it just comes down to the menu.

    Known for its steak and seafood (and, yes, its riverfront spot as well), Kingsleys is curating a three-course lunch for Melbourne Cup Day, which will set you back $99. Plus, if you’re not feeling all that boozy — or you know you’ll still have to head back to the office afterwards and actually do some work (because someone has to ) — you’ll just nab a drink on arrival. To make your booking, head this way.

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    Waterloo Hotel

    Inner-city Brisbane can get pretty hectic on Melbourne Cup Day, and, understandably, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, but don’t want to venture too far away, make a beeline for The Waterloo. It’s perched on the edge of Fortitude Valley just as it turns into Newstead so it should be a little more lowkey.

    Behind its art deco exterior, this 130-year-old pub has undergone quite a few makeovers in its time — so you and your friends won’t just be enjoying drinks and bites to eat but soaking in a slice of Brisbane history, too. When it comes to the all-important booze and food, though, you can choose between a $99 canapes and cocktails option or a $129 sit-down three-course meal. Make your selection over  here.

    Image: Kgbo via Wikimedia Commons.

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    Brisbane’s American-themed sports bar is getting in on the Melbourne Cup Day action, naturally — but it’s also the type of place for folks who want to do something, but don’t want to go all-out. As casual as these type of shenanigans get, the Mary Street spot will be turning its TVs to the relevant race and serving up a $15 burger deal. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

    The usual food and drink menu will also be available, including plenty of whiskey and decadent boozy milkshakes. A stacked burg washed down by an alcohol-filled shake? Sounds like quite the relaxed way for you and your crew to treat yourselves. There’s need to purchase a ticket for this one, but we recommend securing a table over here.

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