Whether you're spending this year's Melbourne Cup with your mates, office crew or loved ones, you've got to plan in advance. With so many spots offering up ticketed events, set menus and parties, choosing can easily take the fun out of the day before it even begins. Luckily, hospitality group Merivale has you covered, with happenings going down at 70 of its venues. It's got it all — from just a few cheeky pints, fancy hats and champagne or all-out party vibes. But we don't blame you if 70 venues is just too much to sort through. That's why we've chosen just a few of our favourites for you to check out — and book immediately.
KEEP IT CASUAL AT THE VIC ON THE PARK
The Vic on the Park has all the makings for a rowdy Melbourne Cup Day at the pub. This year, it's not just taking walk-ins — for $45, you can nab a table on the deck or in the bistro and settle in for the afternoon with a three-course set menu and a schooey of Furphy (or glass of Chandon Brut for the traditional types). The share menu is served 'family style' and starts with a Mediterranean dip platter (baba ganoush, tarama, beetroot and labne) along with falafel, pickled veg and pita chips. For mains, think rump steak with salsa verde and rotisserie chicken with gravy, plus a wood-grilled veggie side and strawberry cheesecake dessert for all. DJs will spin classic vinyl to keep the atmosphere alive well into the night.
GET INTO THE PARTY SPIRIT AT MS G'S
MsG's regular party vibes make it a Melbourne Cup go-to, and the team has created an eight-course banquet menu just for the occasion. The venue's famed cheeseburger spring rolls sit alongside crumbed pink ling banh mi, albacore tuna tartare with rendang dressing and tamarind-caramel pork ribs. Dessert brings you the inventive Thai milk tea custard tart with burnt lemongrass cream and milo crumbs to boot. It'll cost you $95 per person, and also comes with a glass of Chandon Brut or Furphy beer.
GO ALL OUT AT BERT'S BAR AND BRASSERIE
If a fine and fancy Melbourne Cup is what you're after, then you deserve waterfront views to accompany your Champagne sipping. Look no further than Bert's, with its sparkling Pittwater outlook and a brasserie set menu for the finest of dining. For $185, guests will begin with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and canapés, which include fresh oysters with a chardonnay mignonette and marinated trout roe with chicken butter on brioche toast. It'll be followed by a three-course feast by executive chef, Jordan Toft — from king prawn and crudo entrees to vine-leaf snapper and wild mint vinaigrette spatchcock for mains, plus three vegetable sides and peach melba for dessert. It's definitely a dressed-to-the-nines affair, and prizes will go out to the best of the bunch.
For a full list of Merivale's Melbourne Cup happenings around the city, head over here.