Maybe you're in it because you enjoy the thrill of a cheeky bet. Perhaps it's the excuse to dress up and wear an impractical hat. Or maybe you are less into the country's most prestigious horse race and just like that you get to leave the office for a glass of Champagne and a fancy lunch. Whatever your investment in the Melbourne Cup, if you feel like making an afternoon of it these are the Sydney restaurants and bars with special offers on Cup day.
Want to kick on? Hit one of Sydney's best cocktail bars.
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Spots in the garden sold out last year so get in quick if you want oysters, Veuve, and three courses for $85. Failing that for $70pp you can head up to the rooftop where there will be charcuterie and cheese stations.
Make your Melbourne cup lunch a spicy one with nin courses of the famously firey food at Long Chim, including a welcome drink, beer and wine for $130pp.
Go all out with an eight-course feast for Cup day at Nomad. There'll be bubbles on arrival, screens to watch the race and a banquet of charcuterie, jersey milk haloumi, wood-roasted rainbow trout, lamb rump and an ice cream sandwich for dessert for $120 a head.
This ever buzzy Thai hot spot will host its very own Melbourne Cup party lunch from noon. They'll be serving up a banquet stacked with kingfish sashimi, Penang curry of grilled eggplant and beef short rib with shaved coconut salad. There will be DJs to soundtrack the lead up to the race and festivities after.
Celebrate Cup Day with a huge Greek feast. The Apollo will host a set menu lunch featuring some of the restaurant's favourite dishes including the saganaki cheese, barbecued octopus and slow cooked lamb. There will also be a sweep with mystery prizes, party tunes and glasses of Laurent Perrier to toast to the race.
Upgrade your Cup day with three courses at the five-star Aria, with a glass of Ruinart Champagne, canapés, coffee and petit fours into the bargain for $170.
Head to the Rocks for canapes featuring native ingredients and a glass of bubbles or beer on arrival for $70pp. Make it a two-hour beverage package for an extra $65.
Themeing doesn't get any stronger than having Darryl Braithwaite performing 'Horses' live on Melbourne Cup day at the Albion Hotel. Your $75 tickets includes a three course lunch, a drink on arrival and DJs afterwards to kick on with.
Make it a waterfront lunch for Cup day at the new Queen Chow in Manly, who are offering an eight-course banquet of dim sum and Cantonese favourites for $120pp.
You can keep things sensible with a $105pp three-course lunch with Champagne on arrival at the Paddo Inn, but if you don't have to go back to the office an added three-hour drinks package bumps it up to $165pp.
This Bondi trattoria will mark the Melbourne Cup with a long lunch. Start off with cacio e pepe pasta, stuffed green olives and prawn crudo, before diving into mains of egg yolk raviolo with porcini mushroom and asparagus; and duck with cauliflower, fennel, orange and pistachios. There will be sweepstakes and best dressed competitions and sparkling on arrival.
Head to Chiswick, the green, leafy oasis in Woollahra that is offering a $165 set menu for the Melbourne Cup that includes a glass of Ruinart on arrival and a four-course lunch.
Mark the day of equine madness at this modern Australian rooftop bar located smack bang in the middle of Barangaroo. You'll get to enjoy three hour's worth of drinks and snacks, all while getting revved up for the race that stops the nation. Small and big groups welcome and booking is essential.
How's your sword skills? You can put them to the test at the Glenmore on Melbourne Cup, where you can order G.H Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne Sabrage for $169 per person, with each guest given the chance to open their own bottle with the blade.
Seats are still available on the beautiful balcony overlooking Crown Street for Melbourne Cup day celebrations. It's $75 a head with a drink on arrival, roving canapes, charcuterie stations and prizes. Plus the race will be shown on multiple large screens.
The Circular Quay iteration of this Italian providore and restaurant will best host a three-coure lunch, which includes antipasto, pasta, trout, porchetta and dessert. You can also add on a two hour drinks package for just $35.
Get all fancy for Melbourne Cup at Bert’s Bar & Brasserie with canapes on arrival, a three-course meal for $185 and Fashions on the Field. Or keep it budget friendly with a $60 event package down in the Newport Courtyard.
Southern Cali vibes will be the order of Cup day at SoCal, with a feast of tequila gazpacho, grilled octopus, crab tacos and grilled Morton Bay bugs. Prizes for the best-dressed and sweepstakes also included in the $85pp price tag, plus a glass of GH Mumm Champagne on arrival.
This spiffy Redfern bar and restaurant will host a poppin' Cup Day party, with roaming canapes and an optional three-hour
beverage package. The race will be screen live and loud and large groups are welcome.
Embrace a long lunch in the CBD with a Cantonese-style nine-dish feast with a glass of Veuve Clicquot for $185pp at Mr Wong.
Want to enjoy your out of office afternoon by the water? Manly Wharf Bar will host a three-course lunch by head chef Ana Flick. You'll also get a glass of Chandon on arrival to kick off the party. The race will be screened live on the TVs throughout the venue.
This mega Italian restaurant will host a Melbourne Cup Lawn Party from noon, complete with roaming canapes and antipasto, bottomless Espresso Martinis, Aperol Spritzs, beer, wine and prosecco. There will be a custom built pop-up outdoor marquee with big screens showing the race, plus live music and DJs to liven the party.
The North Sydney botanical bar is offering a canape menu with oysters, scallops, croquettes and tartare. $85 includes a glass of bubbles on arrival and snacks, but you can upgrade to a two-hour beverage package for $55pp.
This New Orleans inspired bar and eatery will be doing a canape fuelled Cup Day party, complete with water views, Southern American style bites, live music, a glass of Champagne Taittinger Cuvée Prestige on arrival and access to multiple large screens to watch the race.
It'll cost you $79 per person, or $700 for a table of 10, to get amogst Solander Dining and Bar’s Melbourne Cup lunch package, which includes a glass of Moet & Chandon on arrival, followed by a three-course lunch.
It doesn't get much better than using the race as an excuse for a ethically produced, seasonally focussed four-course lunch by Danielle Alvarez at Fred’s, matched with a flute of Veuve Clicquot for $200.
On Cup Day this sprawling Rocks bar will transform into a gin garden party, complete with large outdoor viewing screens, multiple TABs to bet at, live bands and DJs. You can choose from packages that include two and three hours worth of beverages, or just head in for the atmosphere.
This Turkish restaurant down at Barangaroo will host a four-course lunch by chef and owner Somer Sivrioglu. Start with hot and cold mezes before diving into hearty mains. Whether you win or lose the race you'll end the lunch on a sweet note, with a serve of finishing with a dessert of black sea filo pastry with milk and rose pudding, hazelnuts and berries.
This Crown Street restaurant will host a seven-course share style Lebanese feast. Dine on prawn falafels, snapper sayadiesh and lamb shoulder from midday, before watching the race that stops the nation in the afternoon.
This Woolloomooloo hotel will host a venue-wide Cup Day shindig, with an Aperol Spritz bar AND an Espresso Martini bar. Your ticket includes a glass of NV Veuve Cliquot on arrival, a beer and wine package, canapes, DIY food stations and screen showing the big race.
This Leichardt pub will be popping bottles of G.H. Mumm and pouring glasses on arrival, before they sit you down to a two-course lunch. Dress up and wear a fascinator, as there will be prizes for the best dressed and best millinery. For punters there's full TAB facilities open from 8am.
Cruise Bar is hosting a $89 Melbourne Cup day do with Champagne on arrival, roving canapes for three hours, an oyster station, big screens, prizes, DJs and live music.
This steak and crab house located on Woolloomooloo's finger wharves will be firing up a luxe three course lunch, which includes a fresh seafood platter, your choice of main and a dessert or cheese to finish, plus a glass of Champagne on arrival. The race will be screened across the venue, and there will be prizes for best dressed on the day.
This Rocks pub will celebrate Race Day with a two-course sit down lunch. You'll also get a cocktail on arrival, followed by a two-hour premium beverage package. The race will be screen live on both indoor and outdoor screens, there will be TAB facilities and live entertainment to follow the race.
The Rocks' Overseas Passenger Terminal's very own brewhouse will host a race day party, complete with Chandon on arrival, live entertainment and substantial canapes. After the race concludes the venue will open up to the public looking to celebrate their wins or losses.
Take in harbour views and tropical interiors at this King Street Wharf Bar. Bungalow 8 will host two party options, so you can opt for either a sit down three-course lunch with Champagne on arrival, or a three hour beverage package with canapes.
If you don't like your chances of the boss approving the full long lunch experience on Cup day, nip out to Zeta Bar where they'll be screening the race live, with Djs and drink specials for a midday break from your email.