That old Australiana charm of the Military Road facade of the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel remains intact and the local schooner sippers are still chattering out front, but when you hit the beachfront, there is no denying this beloved spot has had some work done. The revamped beer garden is the latest piece in the area’s rejuvenation. Last summer saw the baths and Dunbar House reopen and the hotel’s accommodation receive an overhaul, but this time around the peninsula is appealing to a decidedly younger set.
Just a year since the Doyle family relinquished their five-generation monopoly of the promenade, new owners Fraser Short and Arthur Laundy show no fear on the Sydney family’s home turf as they flaunt a seafood-focused menu created by executive chef John Pye, previously of Doltone House.
Fish and chips, Pacific oysters, and a bucket of tiger prawns are balanced by salads, pastas and meatier options. They also cater to early risers with a breakfast menu from 7am that includes granola, ricotta hotcakes and “eggs any way”.
Wasabi spiced Bloody Marys, jugs of Tommy’s margaritas and a few house cocktails (like the Hula Girl, an apple and Sailor Jerry rum twist on the Airmail) are served up in the courtyard cocktail bar. Their wine list is locally focused with Australian and New Zealand wines dominating the selection, and it’s the same story with the beer taps. The upstairs lounge bar is now a Hamptons styled function space with rustic floorboards and whitewashed walls, and (when not booked out) offers a gentle reprieve from the cider-fuelled crowds below.
Watsons Beach Club
1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
(02) 9337 5444
Daily 7am – late