Farm stay, bar and soon to be kitchen; the restored Hotel Granya has got it all

Nestled on the banks of Lake Hume in Towong Shire, the historic Hotel Granya has woken from its decade-long slumber thanks to Bridget Bowe and Gary Paxton.

The couple, who share over 25 years of hospitality experience, purchased the pub at the beginning of 2020 while operating their other venue, The Bethanga Hotel, and proceeded to spend the year carefully restoring the property when COVID-19 hit.

The result is nothing short of magical. Bridget and Gary have transformed the Hotel Granya from classic country pub into a charming farm stay, bar and soon-to-be pub kitchen – all set on 6 acres of rolling hills with alpacas, ponies, sheep and chickens to boot.

The idyllic lakeside property features two self-contained dwellings, The Cedar House and The Silver Gum Lodge, whose bespoke interiors blend country style with Scandinavian touches, as well as a hotel dormitory perfect for those looking for a place to rest their head while exploring the region.

While the farm stay and bar is already in full swing giving travellers a home away from home, the pub kitchen is planned to launch in May 2021, and things are looking pretty delicious. Chef David Barrows is leading the charge after working with Gary at Bethanga Hotel, and will be dishing up share platters with the likes of Black Spice Salt and Pepper Squid, Croquettes and Lamb Koftas, to name a few. Pub classics will also be on offer.

If you fancy bringing along your own tucker before the kitchen opens, Bridget encourages punters to enjoy the grounds with their BYO picnic or barbecue. They’ve even got picnic grazing boxes on offer on weekends.

The team have big plans for The Hotel Granya, which Bridget says are only just getting started. With her background in the arts and community service, Bridget hopes to link community groups with the property by running gardening programs.

“We would love to use the grounds to host community events and open it up to artists and creatives to run workshops. We hosted a floral wreath making workshop just prior to Christmas, and have a Clay one coming up in April. We are also in consultation with a local Yoga Teacher with the plan to host a Yoga Retreat here later in the year.” Bridget explains.

Despite being hit with a pandemic, this innovative duo are proving that creativity doesn’t stop with difficulty. So drop in for a cold one if you are in the area and add a night in their stunning accomodation. They even give you fresh eggs and fruit from the orchard if you do!

WHAT: Hotel Granya
WHERE: 3100 Murray River Road, Granya
WHEN: Accommodation and bar now open, kitchen opening May 2021
MORE INFO: Hotel Granya Farmstay

Say hello to Daylesford Brewing Co’s flagship taproom

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A tidal wave of independent brewing has swept across regional Victoria in the last ten years, with Daylesford the next town in line to receive its very own craft beer outpost, courtesy of Daylesford Brewing Co.

Co-owners of Daylesford Brewing Co, Dave Gill and Jess Holmes, have taken over the former Wine and the Country Bar at 1/97 Vincent Street (now Winespeake) and the property next door, removed the wall in between and transformed the space into a lush bar and taproom.

The craft brewery’s first permanent outpost will be opening near Easter 2021 with the beers flowing on tap, both indoor and outdoor seating featuring space for up to 100 guests and a menu full of bar favourites like popcorn chicken, arancini and slow-cooked lamb ribs.

Taking inspiration from city taprooms and bars, the Daylesford Brewing Co taproom will feature a fully equipped bar, booth seating and central tables with a hint of classical “country-style” finishes.

Since bottling their first beer in 2014, the delicious pale ales, golden ales and porter from Daylesford Brewing Co have only been available through a small list of local bars and bottle shots. Now with the opening of the taproom and bar, punters can now go straight to the horse’s mouth to get a taste of their premium brews.

The couple’s plans for spreading the good taste of craft beer don’t stop there. They also have acquired the former Fire Brigade Hotel two doors down, with the aim to set up a permanent brewery and hospitality space. Built-in the 1860s, the historic site has had several incarnations in its 150-year life span; from pub to guest house, a gift shop and even a milk bar, and its most grandiose transformation coming in a few years time. We hear the interior will be curated by Jess, whose background in interior design means the space will be as beautiful as it is functional.

For now, though, all can get their craft beer fix soon at the Daylesford Brewing Co taproom and bar. Cheers to that!

WHAT: Daylesford Brewing Co taproom and bar
WHERE: 97 Vincent Street, Daylesford
WHEN: Easter 2021
MORE INFO: Daylesford Brewing Co


The Trawool Estate

It takes some serious imagination and no small amount of bravery to look at a property between two small-ish regional centres in an albeit idyllic valley, and transform it into a destination restaurant. It seems to be that when you apply imagination and bravery, along with no small amounts of skill and doggedness, that no amount of hither-to unknown-ness of a location will impede the success of a venture. Apply this to the small valley between Yea and Seymour, and you have The Trawool Estate.

Transforming this property between Yea and Seymour on the Melba Highway was no small task. All the accommodation was gutted and refitted along with the restaurant. The business is entirely renewed. Food could be described as sophisticated regional, but that would do both descriptors a disservice. It’s sophistication is not pretentious, but lies squarely in the treatment of the outstanding produce. The commitment to regional comes from understanding where the property sits – squarely in one of the most productive and beautiful parts of regional Victoria.

Details are everything, or so the old saying alludes. These are not lost on the folks at The Trawool Estate. The little pre-mixed cocktails that kept those in-the-know satiated during lockdown are now served in those very same single serve bottles to guests in the rooms. The cocktail list is as extensive as the wine list is considered, and again local producers are to the fore. Speaking of cocktails, if you’re up for it, don’t miss the master-classes – definitely a stay-over event.

Make sure you follow the social media pages – The Trawool Estate runs some fairly astonishing events, with many planned ahead.

A new mecca of wine, spirits, cocktails and fun Asian cuisine

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A brand spanking new bar has opened its doors in Ballarat – and it’s giving the people what they want.

Roy Hammond is the city’s newest treasure trove of wine, spirits and cocktails, but also serves up a stellar menu of Asian food – making for a real no-brainer when it comes to Friday night tipples.

Owner Brian Taylor says he wanted to provide an opportunity to experience great drinks and fab food in a unique, casual, and vibrant space.

“We love Asian food and it is a perfect match with the gin, whiskey, wine and saki we have from all over the world,” Brian says.

Opening just in time for the summer season, patrons can dine inside or outside and soak up the merchant’s shop industrial vibes that ooze from the bar’s interior.

According to Brian, food favourites so far include fried chicken and bao buns while the gin-based Cherry Blossom and bourbon-based Fist Full of Bourbon have quickly become popular choices.

With all food made in-house, a clear focus on drinks, as well as eight taps of local brews, there is no doubt Roy’s is set to become a firm fave amongst locals and visitors alike.

“The mood is casual, vibrant, and somewhere to enjoy a well-made cocktail or wine with friends,” Brian says.


WHAT: Roy Hammond
WHERE: 24-28 Armstrong St North, Ballarat Central


Black Sheep has arrived in Geelong

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If you were to imagine a down-tempo, slinky bar mixed with Pandora’s Box filled entirely with gin varieties, you might come close to understanding the vibe that is Black Sheep. Geelong’s newest mecca for gin, it is all about experiencing the popular liquor as if for the first time again.

Nestled in the heart of the National Wool Museum in Geelong, Black Sheep has taken over the ground floor space previously occupied by Denny’s Kitchen. Here, the team shakes, stirs and mixes some of the finest gins distilled across the Bellarine and beyond.

Local favourites like Anther Spirits, Bellarine Distillery, The Whiskery, Great Ocean Road Gin, Flowstate Brewers & Distillers and Queenscliff Distillery all make an appearance, alongside a hand-drawn map that details the roads travelled by each producer. It’s part history lesson, part tasting party as you sip on a G&T under their mood lighting.

If cocktails are more your thing, Black Sheep have not only mastered every one gin-related (special mention to the North Shore Sour made with Anther Gin and sweet vermouth, peach Schnapps and lemon juice), but they’re pouring some incredible classics as well.

Like their name, however, Black Sheep does things a little differently from the pack. Each drink has a twist – whether it’s the Black Sheep Espresso Martini with Mr Blacks Coffee Liqueur or the Spiced Negroni served with the iconic Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to leave wanting more.

Food is nay an afterthought on their impressive menu, with European-influenced dishes crafted to pair seamlessly with gin. Locally sourced ingredients shine here in a collection of smaller bites designed to share, as well as larger meals you can tuck into alone. The Wild Forest Mushroom Risotto with truffle oil will send you to vegetarian heaven, while the 200g Eye Fillet with pink peppercorn jus & sautéed green bean might just taste too good to be true.

If you’ve got room after all this goodness, the dessert menu hits different too. Stuffed Apricot Dumplings with vanilla anglaise, anyone?

We won’t blame you if you leave a little rounder than when you entered. And trust us when we say, the Black Sheep family are so welcoming and the gin is so good, you might not want to.

WHAT: Black Sheep bar
WHERE: Ground Level, 66 Brougham St, Geelong
WHEN: Monday to Friday, 5pm – late. Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – late.
MORE INFO: Black Sheep


Meet Doni Bar, Geelong’s newest late night hangout

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Lovers of Sodi Cafe are in for a treat. Their favourite haunt has just added a whole new weapon to their arsenal: a down-tempo, cosy bar within the four exposed-brick walls.

Nestled right in the heart of Geelong’s hub of cosmopolitan scene – Pakington Street – the much-loved cafe has been winning the hearts of locals since they opened in 2018. Their lattes are on point, as are their famous puppuccinos for our four-legged friends. But the vibe is no longer contained to mere daylight hours thanks to a sweet new fit-out.

As of January 8th, Doni Bar, Sodi Cafe’s late-night alter ego, is back in full-flight. After poking its nose out right in between lockdowns last year, the bar is once again slinging cocktails, craft beers and thoughtfully curated wines to adoring fans.

The agenda here is relaxed, unpretentious service that fits the everyday vibe Sodi kicked off. Think a weekend tipple as the sun sets, or a cheeky wine pre-dinner. Happy Hour is on the menu too, with $10 cocktails and $20 jugs from 5:30pm. Whatever your reason for popping by, Doni Bar will take care of you.

For those with an appetite, the crew is trading the avo toast for some more evening-appropriate bites. There are cheese boards, grazing boards, paninis and tasty sides like chicken croquettes, three-cheese arancini, bruschetta and hot chips – so you certainly won’t go hungry.

Open Friday and Saturday nights for two-hour seatings, Doni Bar is another stellar addition to the Sodi Cafe world and Pakington Street. Make sure you book ahead so you don’t miss out! PH: 0415 659 002.

WHAT: Doni Bar
WHERE: 149 Pakington St, Geelong West
WHEN: Open Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm – 10pm

Summer hangs sorted at this new Teesdale container bar

Images by @handzaroundvideophotography

The cooler months have said farewell, and it’s time to remind ourselves what bright, balmy summer days look like. Throw your arms open because there’s a new venue where you can soak up the gammas and shoot the breeze like there’s no tomorrow.

Enter Elderbar and Eats, the latest and greatest container bar to pop up in the Golden Plains. Airy, edgy and casual, the cafe/bar hybrid is perfect for your small stopover, or all day Sunday hangs with mates – right in the heart of trendy Teesdale.

The team behind the new digs are the Bannockburn wedding and event hire company Elderberry Event Hire, who have been on the top of the wedding game since 2016. When the pandemic hit and weddings stopped being a thing, the duo – made up of Orla Maxey and Corey Young – got brainstorming for ways to get people together in a COVID-safe, al fresco way. And so Elderbar and Eats was born. 

Aesthetic and vibes here are on point from the word go. The inside opens onto ample decking and turf space, all underneath glittering festoon lighting. The menu covers every base, from breakfast to all-day lunch and dinner – the latter of which is designed to share. Think buckwheat pancakes, bao buns, fried chicken wings and Antipasto platters made with seasonal, local ingredients. Your mouth watering yet?

Drinks-wise, there’s a heavy focus on local brews with favourites like 6Ft6, Leura Park, Clyde Park and many more getting you through. If non-alcoholic bevvy’s are your poison, there’s plenty of options to choose from too. But best of all, in true cruisy cafe/bar fashion, live music by some of the best local acoustic musos will soothe your soul on weekends. 

We’ve all earned a bit of sun-soaked relaxation this year. What better way to get your share than at the vibiest container bar in Teesdale? Top tip: book ahead to avoid disappointment. 

WHAT: Elderbar and Eats
WHERE: Turtlebend Reserve (Shelford-Bannockburn Road), Teesdale
WHEN: Friday and Saturday from 9am – 9pm, Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
MORE INFO: Elderbar and Eats


Elysian Fields – the sultry new cocktail bar Geelong deserves

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As can be said for most of us in 2020, things didn’t exactly go as planned for the crew at Bloom – Geelong’s most loved nightclub. But, after closing their doors due to lockdown earlier this year, the owners have reformed to open Elysian Fields, a sultry new cocktail bar.

Located inside the four walls of Bloom on Moorabool St, the bar is an innovative reimagining of the nightclub space. A complete renovation sees the venue split into two – one cosy nook for seated punters and all their cocktail needs, one epic dance floor for when restrictions ease. 

But while the space has been reconfigured, the modus operandi stays the same: top-shelf spirits and funky vibes ‘til the early morning hours. Punters can expect delicious cocktails mixed by the best bartenders, with a couple of classics and curveballs thrown in, in an atmosphere that’s equal parts comfy, stylish and eclectic.

The bar is for walk-ins only, so you don’t need to book. And when the nightclub opens back up, the underground music Bloom is famous for will be back in full swing. That’s great news for lovers of local musicians and DJs as Bloom often gets in the cream of the crop. Think CC: Disco, Patrick Topping and CamelPhat.

Until then though, Elysian Fields will be pumping out the perfect cocktails and tunes for your boozy evening out. Just in time for silly season!

WHAT: Elysian Fields cocktail bar
WHERE: 114 Moorabool Street, Geelong
WHEN: From Friday, November 27. 6pm until late.
MORE: Bloom Venue

Hidden Gems in Central Geelong You Really Need to Visit Post Lockdown

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook 
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Hidden throughout central Geelong are some truly drool-worthy restaurants and bars; we’ve spoken to some locals and compiled a list of our favourite spots to check out on your next trip to Geelong.

Mavs Greek Restaurant

73B Little Malop St

Mavs Greek Restaurant Geelong Mavs Greek restaurant is the brainchild of the Mavromoustakos’ and holds the title of Geelong’s only authentic Greek restaurant. At Mavs you’re able to sample the best Greek cuisine Geelong has to offer with a number of smaller dishes designed to share, with bigger meals if you’re not keen on sharing (the food is so good I wouldn’t blame you). The fresh and homemade Greek food goes hand in hand with the extensive wine and cocktail list at Mavs. Hidden behind the bustling Little Malop street, Mavs is well worth the find if you’re on the hunt for authentic Greek food.

For bookings head here.

18th Amendment Bar

82A Little Malop St

The 18th Amendment Bar GeelongSitting above the restaurants along Little Malop sits one of Geelong’s most well-hidden gems. The small door and dim staircase almost conceal the award-winning 18th Amendment Bar. Situated upstairs, the bar offers an abundance of cocktails that are not only delicious but also incredible to look at. Think dry ice, edible flowers and beautiful glassware. The bar aims to capture the feel of a Chicago speakeasy bar, transporting you back to the prohibition era. 18th Amendment bar houses an extensive cocktail and spirit list, with expertly trained bartenders ensuring there is always something for everyone.

Head here to book a spot at 18th.

Sober Ramen

85 Little Malop St

Sober Ramen Geelong Ramen Dumpling Sake Nat WineSober Ramen is helping to quash central Geelong’s craving for delicious, authentic Ramen with a modern twist. Sober offers ramen, dumplings, sake and natural wines, alongside speciality cocktails. The tiny restaurant offers the creature comforts of a traditional Japanese ramen restaurant, with an extensive menu and a number of fan favourites including a spicy ramen with three different levels of heat! Open Tuesday through Sunday for eat-in or takeaway ensuring delicious, quick ramen is always on the cards for those in central Geelong.

To get your hands on some ramen head here or follow their socials.

Tomodachi Izakaya and Bar

85A Little Malop St

Tomodachi Izakaya and Bar GeelongTomodachi Izakaya and Bar brings casual Japanese dining to Geelong. Located on little Malop in the heart of Geelong Tomodachi has numerous Japanese dishes designed to share alongside bigger, heartier main meals. Tomodachi also hosts a number of classic cocktails with an imaginative Japanese twist. The meals are quick and delicious with beautiful presentation making it a perfect destination for a quick bite with friends. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner Tomodachi is a venue not to be missed.

To secure your spot head over here.

Valhalla Brewing and Taproom

12-14 Union St

Valhalla Brewing and Taproom Geelong BarValhalla Brewing and Taproom is a go-to spot for ‘seriously drinkable’ beers. Valhalla is a taproom and microbrewery located in the centre of Geelong on Union Street. Valhalla prides itself on producing quality, handcrafted beer. The taproom has a number of taps, some featuring Valhalla’s own brews and other taps reserved to showcase other local and independent breweries. Valhalla regularly hosts live, local music, adding to its cruisy and casual vibe. Open 7 days Valhalla is available at all times to provide excellent quality craft beer and bar snacks.

For bookings or inquiries suss the Valhalla website.

King of the Castle Cafe

24 Pakington St

King of the Castle Cafe GeelongKing of the Castle cafe offers Instagram-worthy brunch that tastes even better than it looks. The award-winning cafe is no stranger to being one of Geelong’s favourite breakfast and brunch venues. The cafe has won multiple awards with its extensive range of menu options, alongside great coffee and bakery sweets. The cafe has customers sitting in a rustic, industrial feel dining hall lined with plants making it the perfect space for a delicious brunch and a coffee surrounded by greenery.

To keep in the loop with King of the Castle head to their website or follow their socials.

Pistol Pete’s Food and Blues

93 Little Malop St

Pistol Pete’s Food and Blues Geelong Restaurant MusicPistol Pete’s Food and Blues aims to bring the authentic taste of America’s Southern states to central Geelong. With food inspired by places such as Memphis, Clarksdale and New Orleans the authentic taste of Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi are just a short walk away from Geelong’s CBD. Offering live Jazz and Blues performed by international, national and local artists. Along with gumbo, waffles and PoBoys, this fully licensed venue is bringing Southern American comfort food to regional Victoria.

To discover what all the fuss is about and to book a table of your own head here.


10 Union St

Lipari Espresso Bar Geelong Lipari is a Geelong fan favourite, often fondly regarded as one of Geelong’s best Italian restaurants. The homely space offers authentic Italian food, handmade pasta, homemade sauces and fresh bread. The fully licensed restaurant also boasts a great local wine list and a number of imported beers to accompany your meal. Open six days for lunch and dinner Lipari is always available for your authentic Italian fix.

To satisfy those pasta cravings book via the website. 

Courthouse Cafe and Gallery

40 Gheringhap St

Courthouse Cafe and Gallery Geelong Courthouse cafe and gallery offers a range of wholesome, healthy food and has become a must-stop for local business people in central Geelong. Their huge range of takeaway sandwiches, focaccias and wraps quite often sell out so be sure to get in quick for a pre picnic stop. Courthouse also offers in house dining with a range of homemade meals and sweets sure to satisfy every customer. Courthouse is the perfect place to grab a quick and healthy bite to eat in or takeaway for a picnic in the park just a minute’s walk away.

For catering inquiries or to book a table head over to the website.

Sweet Cheeks Cocktail and Dessert Lounge

Level 1/71 Yarra St

Sweet Cheeks Cocktail and Dessert Lounge GeelongSweet Cheeks cocktail and dessert lounge is Geelong’s newest late-night haunt for the sweet tooth. With a Palm Springs inspired aesthetic and an in-house pastry chef the brightly coloured space offers plenty of pancakes, desserts and cocktails. Sweet Cheeks is sure to have something for everyone, including cocktails inspired by everyone’s favourite childhood choccy, the curly-wurly. Situated in the heart of Geelong it’s a must-stop for anyone looking for a sweet treat. Open late Wednesday through Sunday Sweet Cheeks is sure to cure those late-night cravings.

For a full menu of sweet treats and to secure a spot suss them out here or be sure to follow their socials for live updates.