The MACq 01 hotel is a stunning abode that blends perfectly with Hobart’s wharf area. So well, in fact, that you might overlook it when you are walking past. But you will want to make sure you don’t as you would be missing out on the delicious culinary adventures inside. Eating and drinking at MACq 01 in Hobart is just another reason to stay at this excellent hotel.
Along with the clever architects who designed MACq 01 to blend with its heritage neighbours are the bars and restaurants that are placed to make the most out of this amazing location. With a choice of indoor and alfresco drinking and dining in some fabulous themed venues, MACq 01 sets a high standard that has locals and visitors queuing at the door, even on weeknights. I know because the first time I tried to enjoy a drink here, I couldn’t get a seat. Luckily they do take bookings which I would highly recommend doing.
When you enter the hotel, you’ll walk into the bar area known as The Lounge which is designed around a circular fireplace with a ceiling that represents the kelp forests of the Tasmanian coast. Outside you’ll find views of the docks while inside there are displays of Tasmanian heritage with both First Nations’ and early European settlers’ artifacts highlighted in glass display cases lining the walls. The Lounge is the perfect place for a glass of wine, coffee or cocktail while enjoying the fire either as a couple or with friends.
Evolve Spirits Bar
Next door to The Lounge is the award-winning Evolve Spirits Bar which follows the theme of discovery and exploration. Greeting you near the door is the skeleton of a Russian cave bear (much nicer to look at than it may sound) and adorning the room you’ll find artifacts dating back to 550 million years ago. All of these pieces are authentic and belong the private collection of the family who own the bar.
Along with the impressive historic displays comes an even more impressive wall of whiskey and assorted spirits and talented bar staff plus mixologists who know what to do with them. Some other things to tempt you are discovery flights of whiskeys from Tasmanian distillery Overeem and Whiskey Wednesday, a night to discover rare and unique whiskeys at discounted prices.
The Story Bar
The Story Bar is located at the end of the MACq 01 building and is almost standing room only on my visit (we were glad we had booked a table). The Story Bar lives up to its name with a display of old newspapers and glass cabinets filled with memorabilia from Tasmania’s past. This bar is a nod to a traditional Tasmanian pub, albeit one with an elegant and modern fit out and nicely decorated outdoor area with views across to Constitution Dock.
Like the Evolve Spirits Bar, The Story Bar also offers table service and the staff are on point, watching to see when people’s drinks are running low and coming over to offer another. We really enjoyed this aspect of the bars at MAC1q 01 and the excellent drink recommendations at the spots we dropped into for a drink. The Story Bar has an extensive collection of spirits, wines, and beers, all of which heavily favour Tasmanian with a vast array of locally distilled gins, vodkas and whiskies. The wine list also showcases some of Tasmania’s finest wineries. For snacks, there is a range of dishes courtesy of the adjacent Old Wharf Restaurant, my next port of call.
The Old Wharf Restaurant
Dining at MACq 01 is taken care of at The Old Wharf Restaurant which offers another reflection on the area’s heritage. This is a place that has a philosophy of keeping things simple but done well. Taking great Tasmanian produce, the menu highlights traditional Tasmanian dishes but with a twist of modern flare. Dishes like a prawn cocktail circa the 1970s to a house made Tasmanian scallop pie or BBQ Marion Bay Chicken will have you yearning for the simple days where a sneeze or a cough didn’t make you want to flee the area. Classic desserts like sticky date pudding and crème caramel tempting you to order a glass of dessert wine to finish the night.
Disclosure: The writer dined as a guest of MACq 01 and visited Evolve, The Story Bar, and The Lounge at their own expense. Remember to book a table at all of these venues. You’ll be glad you did.
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