You know the type: great service, nice rooms, incredible food, yesteryear prices – the kind of place where you can spend the night, leave the next day and say that . . . was a Great Australian Pub. Corner Beaconsfield & Kalinya Streets, Newport, NSW
A heavy family presence means a close eye is kept on any antisocial shenanigans – or you’re out the door. Fast. Biggest waterfront beer garden in the country, world-class steaks from the refurbished top floor restaurant, 18 types of tap beer from the one service point, lawns with kids’ playgrounds, a gigantic outdoor screen for sporting events, jaw-dropping water and national park views . . . what doesn’t the iconic Newport Arms have? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t have: maps. Handed out at the numerous entry points would be handy. Perhaps with a compass, because this place is massive.
Established in 1880 and nestled on the shores of Pittwater about 40min north of the Sydney CBD, the Newport Arms is what you might call a stayer – although it’s been rebuilt and expanded a few times over the past century and a quarter. Recent multimillion-dollar works have turned an already popular watering hole into a veritable city, with thousands of punters lapping up the sunshine, views and atmosphere throughout the week.
BEST COUNTER MEAL
Take your pick. The famous Sunday Sessions get so busy that the beer garden’s Garden Bistro alone can serve 2500 regular pub-style meals in one sitting. Also in the garden is The Grill, dishing out slightly higher quality meals of the prime meat, rib and BBQ seafood variety. Or there’s always the top floor Terrace on Pittwater, featuring contemporary dining at its finest, with a focus on out-of-this-world steaks. This is a place that’s very serious about its food.
Besides hosting numerous fundraising events for local clubs and causes, the Terrace holds various interesting themed dinners. For example, Glenn Cooper, brewer and owner of Coopers ales, was the special guest at a recent course-matching and Coopers-sampling dinner; a five-course meal and the whole range of Coopers ales – all for $80pp. These kinds of evenings crop up at the rate of around three a month, so check the restaurant website regularly for updates.
POINT OF DIFFERENCE
The stunning views of Church Point, Scotland Island, Bayview and Ku-Ring-Gai Chase national park for starters. Plus its hugely family oriented, with kids’ menus, sandpits, playgrounds and ice-cream stands – while retaining important secretive corners for quiet sitters, expansive tables and plasma screens for sports lovers, and everything in between.
LEVEL OF MENACE
Beyond grumpy toddlers pulling each other’s ponytails? Very little. The heavy family presence ensures the Newport Arms keeps a close eye on any antisocial shenanigans – or you’re out the door. Fast.
Eight newly renovated doubles with ensuites, plus a family room that sleeps six. Modest rates ($150 per night), including a light breakfast, tempt any and all to turn a pleasant evening into an even more pleasant stay.
Ranges from pub-rowdy enthusiastic in the beer garden to polite silver service upstairs in the Terrace. And, having to deal with thousands of drinkers at a time, these folk are smooth, slick and efficient. You won’t be kept waiting, or left wanting.
A schooner in the garden goes for $4.30, while a bottle from the largest wine list selection on the Northern Beaches – including many rarities from the Bayfield owners’ family cellar – costs anywhere from $20 to $1200 (for an ’88 Grange Magnum on the Terrace). Contact: www.newportarms.com.au or (02) 9997 4900.