Hidden gems - why pubs and bars make brilliant event venues

Event Birdie has recently had the pleasure of attending a range of events hosted at pubs and bars in Sydney and we have been impressed! Not only are these spaces fabulous for private party celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries and engagement parties), but they are also fantastic locations for corporate events too. 
Bars and pubs have become sophisticated, trendy and versatile. They are now not only brilliant places to hang out with friends, but also unique spaces to host product launches, meetings or staff Christmas parties for the corporate market. 
These fabulous venues come with a lot of benefits for event planners too. Offering features that set them apart from your typical function venues and more often than not, proving to be more economical for those planning events on a tight budget. 
This untapped resource is not just in Sydney – we’re seeing it across the nation from Melbourne to Brisbane and even regional areas. This week we sing the praises of our pubs and bars and explore why you should consider these establishments as a venue for your next event.

Atmosphere & styling

One of the best things about hosting an event at a pub or bar venue is the ready-made atmosphere and styling. Gone are the days of beer stained carpet, smoke-filled rooms and sticky high-tops – Australia’s establishments have raised the level of interior styling to an all-time high. 
Whether it’s a themed interior like The Eastern’s Mexican El Topo or the sophisticated harbourside chic of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, bars and pubs are decking themselves out in style.
For the savvy event planner, this means no need to style the room yourself. Perhaps a few key pieces for branding purposes (if required) or a few personal touches for private events, but generally the atmosphere and styling comes as part of the package!

Music & Audio Visual

One thing all good pubs and bars have is music. Whether you’re looking to plug in an iPod, get in a DJ or splash out on a band, bars and pubs come fully equipped with all your music and entertainment needs. They generally will have a microphone on hand for speeches and if you’re keen to showcase a particular sporting event or company DVD, screens and other AV equipment are never too far away either.

Bar service

Drinks, whether alcoholic or not, are an important part of any event. At function centres, it is often a choice between a package (beer, wine, sparkling and soft drinks) or beverages on consumption (beer, wine, sparkling and soft drinks). At a pub or bar, however, you have access to the full bar! Sure you can keep to the standard BWSSD – but at a pub or bar you have more options available to you. 
Cocktails never seem to be a problem. Setting up a cash bar, never seems to be a problem. Having some drinks on a package and some by cash, again, never a problem. And best of all, once the package or bar tab is over, it is so easy for the party to kick on – just not from your budget!


We have already mentioned that pub and bar venues across Australia have risen the bar in terms of interior styling. The same can be said about the food offering too! 
No longer are deep fried spring rolls, filled only with cabbage and pepper, whisked out to starving guests who gobble them up regardless of their cardboard taste. 
Bars and pubs are now often some of THE best places to eat in town. With our pubs and bars now welcoming in top chefs and creating menus that keep locals and outsiders flocking through the doors, event planners can relax knowing their guests will be well fed. From delicious canapés to fine dining, there is now a lot more than pub grub on the menu.

Catering for events at pubs and bars

Let the party kick on!

The networking event, staff Christmas party or even the product launch you have planned may end at 9pm (or earlier), but that doesn’t mean you have to usher the guests out and loose valuable opportunities to continue networking or having fun with your colleagues or guests. At pub and bar venues the doors stay open longer - while your event space may become a public space, as long as you have your seat, the conversations can linger.

Creative daytime meeting venues

If you have been looking for an affordable meeting space for the team or a place to host a working lunch with clients, then one of Sydney or Melbourne’s bars and pubs might just be the answer. Often quiet during the mid-week daytime period, pubs and bars can make for creative event spaces for meetings, brainstorming sessions and presentations at very affordable rates. 
For example, take The Sheaf Hotel's Canopy Bar – a private space with indoor/ outdoor areas overlooking the shady Oak tree. The space can accommodate about 20-30 people for a meeting. Screen and projector can be provided and a hearty pub lunch can be taken on the private balcony or in the beer garden.

Canopy | creative meeting space
Canpoy at The Sheaf, Double Bay


So, if you’re looking to host an event somewhere unique, stylish, with ready-made atmosphere, easy entertainment, delicious food and great bar service, then check out some of the fabulous venues listed on Event Birdie. We have put together an overview below of some of our favourite pubs and bars for events. You can find more venues with bars listed in our directory and can follow the links below:

1. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel | Sydney
One of Sydney’s most stylish venues, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel offers a range of event spaces - offering a large outdoor bar, the Hampton’s-styled Sunset Room and even a functional boardroom. Their Harbourside location inspires their menus and provides spectacular views.
2. Grosvenor Hotel | Melbourne
Just outside the CBD on St Kilda Road, the Grosvenor Hotel is a pure gem when it comes to pubs with unique event spaces to offer. Their upstairs Number 10, is a great space for parties and small daytime conferences and their Private Dining Room offers a sophisticated space for meetings and private dinners. Their menus are far from pub grub and are worth a visit in their own right.
3. Frisco Hotel | Sydney
Having recently undergone a full renovation, the Frisco Hotel is a fabulous choice for private, social and corporate events. The upstairs function room has a wide, covered balcony, private bar and space to bogey – plus views of the CBD and Harbour!
4. Ludlow Bar & Dining | Melbourne
Ludlow Bar & Dining is one of our favourites in Melbourne due to its location and versatility. Right on the River at South Bank, this venue offers cosy indoor areas, large covered alfresco event spaces and a fantastic private dining room for intimate events. We’ve seen it used for large corporate functions, daytime meetings, breakfast events and brand activations.
5. The Sheaf Hotel | Sydney
Previously known as The Golden Sheaf and known to locals as simple, The Sheaf, this is one of Sydney’s better known party venues on the East side. However, what many don’t realise is that their venue is also perfect for daytime meetings. 
6. Kings Cross Hotel | Sydney
Offering one of Sydney’s best rooftop event spaces that can actually be hired exclusively (that’s harder to find than you might think!). There are multiple levels and event spaces on offer at Kings X Hotel. Plus, it’s only a minute from the CBD – worth a look if you want somewhere a bit different and loads of fun. 
7. Hophaus Bier Bar & Grill | Melbourne
Located in South Bank, this is another great venue for functions of any type or size. They offer a range of spaces, including a great covered balcony. The food is hearty, the beers are  always flowing and the interior styling is bright and funky.
8. The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room | Sydney
Low lighting, leather seats and warm undertones make The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room a sophisticated venue for corporate events and private celebrations. The focus on good food and wine adds to the winning combination – as does the central CBD location!
9. Harlequin Inn | Sydney
Many people don’t realise that the Harlequin Inn has a fantastic event space upstairs. It’s not only perfect for parties and functions, but also makes for a great workshop and meeting room space. They’ve got all the AV and set-up you would need and of course, the post-meeting drinks are an easy addition.
10. The Eastern | Sydney
Located in Bondi Junction, The Eastern offers a variety of themed event spaces that can be hired separately for events. Menus have been designed to match each space and you’re guaranteed to find a look that suits your next event. 
11. The Clock | Sydney
Enjoy your event on The Clock’s famous balcony overlooking Crown Street or head indoors to the super cool, Lounge Bar. The latter can be hired exclusively and features its own funky balcony and bar. There are also a few areas for private groups that want to take full advantage of The Clock’s friendly atmosphere.
12. The Public, Cammeray | Sydney
The Public, Cammeray is a great space for dinner events, cocktail gatherings long table lunches and morning presentations. The interior is light and bright, the food fresh and delicious and the location – just a stone’s throw from North Sydney, Chatswood and the CBD. 
13. Shelbourne Hotel | Sydney
The Shelbourne is a venue known to many Sydney-siders for its night time socialising, but it’s also a fabulous space for hosting a private function! The rooftop space has had a recent make over, as has their menus and function packages. The great location is hard to miss. 
14. Beachside Dojo | Sydney
Overlooking Manly Beach, Beachside Dojo is a fresh, light venue offering a variety of event spaces. You can utilise their indoor/ outdoor spaces for dinner and cocktail style functions or take advantage of their smaller private spaces for daytime meetings. Their DDR is great value and their fresh catering options look delicious. 
15. Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel | Sydney
Just a hop, skip and jump from the CBD, Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel is a great space for corporate functions, special celebrations AND daytime meetings. Their upstairs event space is perfect for presentations and meetings – they offer a small breakout space, plus AV. Take a break on the balcony overlooking the water between sessions!
16. The Hotel Steyne | Sydney
Another brilliant venue in Manly, The Hotel Steyne offers three very unique spaces. A fresh, bright rooftop space, plus a 1920’s saloon bar and their Moonshine Bar event space. All are perfect for functions and parties and the latter is also good for daytime presentations and meetings. 
17. Cruise Bar | Sydney
Located overlooking Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House, Cruise Bar has two levels perfect for group bookings and semi-private events, and one amazing rooftop space dedicated to private events. It’s a great spot for a party, function or wedding – and for smaller groups it’s also a brilliant space for meetings and daytime workshops.
18. Verandah | Sydney
Located in Sydney’s CBD, Verandah has a great function space that is perfect for celebrating and networking. We’ve also attended presentation style events in this venue – so worth a look if you’re keen on a something a bit different in the CBD.
19. The Cidery Bar & Kitchen | Sydney
Located in World Square adjoining the Rydges Hotel, they actually make cider onsite! The venue is perfect for functions and networking – the bar is well stocked – and their cider is darn good. For small groups, you can arrange private tours of the actual cidery.
20. The Edinburgh Castle | Sydney
The Eddy, as it’s commonly known, is a traditional style pub with fresh interiors and a very handy CBD location. Classic spaces for group bookings and social gatherings, The Eddy also would be a great space to take over for a large corporate function. Its quiet nooks also make for an interesting, off-beat meeting venue. 

*This article was last updated on 27 April 2017