Like its sister venues, Garden State Hotel is designed to handle a crowd. It has three separate menus designed by chef Ashly Hicks (ex-Circa), several distinct areas and room for 800 punters.
The central atrium is decked out with full-grown trees and glowing spheres. Steps lead down to an indoor garden with seating along the balconies and across the tiered platforms.
The front bar on Flinders Lane is a classic pub, complete with sport on giant TVs. If you enter from Duckboard Place you’ll find the Rose Garden, a laneway bar serving cocktails in a dimly lit cellar space.
A counter menu is available over the bar, with options such as a toasted broccoli and salted ricotta on casarecce pasta and the obligatory parma. You can also get three-cheese toasties and shoestring fries for around $10 via a self-serve kiosk.
Upstairs is the Garden Grill, a traditional bistro with bentwood chairs, tall windows and peach-pink highlights. There are also private dining spaces that can host anything from dinner for up to 20 to cocktail parties for 120.
The more formal Garden Grill and Rose Garden serve a-la-carte options, including a fennel pollen-cured snapper and a Wagyu skirt steak.
The booze selection is equally democratic, spanning Carlton Draught to simple but effective cocktails such as a San Fran-style Margarita and the reliable Dark and Stormy.