The best Christmas party venues in Canberra

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The QT Lounge

The QT Lounge is a highly recommended Canberra Christmas party venue. Photo: QT.

At the end of each year, the tinkling sound of red and gold jingle bells can be heard in the far distance as Santa embarks on his annual Christmas journey. A highlight of the season’s festivities for many is the Christmas party, celebrating with office colleagues, friends or family. But finding the perfect venue to sip on bubbles, indulge in nibbles or dance your heart out can be challenging and stressful.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a Christmas party venue, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great Christmas party venue?

To choose the right Christmas party venue, you need to consider many factors. Atmosphere is one. The style of food is another. You’ll also want to think about location and whether you need to style or decorate the venue.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a Christmas venue:

  • Festive atmosphere. No matter which venue you choose, you’ll want a festive atmosphere. That’s whether your Christmas party is small and intimate or large and packed with energy. Besides choosing the right size of space, ask venue staff how the venue will be decorated for the season. For example, many venues go all out with Christmas trees, festive lights, and even Christmas tunes. Some are more subdued.
  • Food and drink. Whether you want to pop the bubbles and enjoy a real party vibe, or sip cocktails or wine in a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll want great food and drinks at Christmas. Do your research. Ask venues what packages they offer. Remember that many create special, set menus from canapes through to full meals.
  • Location, location, location. Select a venue with the right location. If it’s challenging to travel to the venue, guests might not make the effort. With an office party, for example, you may want a venue within walking distance. Also consider whether the venue is easily accessible by public transport or a quick taxi ride.
  • Right price. You’ll want to let the venue know what your Christmas party budget is and ask them to stick to it. Ask about special Christmas packages that cover venue rental as well as food-and-beverage packages. Also ask for written quotes detailing all charges. This way you won’t be caught off guard when paying the bill.
  • Smiling service. Ask about service levels so your guests are well taken care of at the Christmas party. Also ask whether dedicated event teams are on hand and whether staff are skilled and attentive.

The best Christmas party venues in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Hotel Realm

The five-star Hotel Realm is a destination for Christmas cheer. Gather with family, friends or work colleagues and rejoice.

The National Ballroom and High Courtyards are two unique venues for festive cheer (minimum 40 guests). The Executive Chef is on hand to create a three-course meal with a selection of seasonal favorites.

Hotel Realm’s popular and versatile Ostani Bar brings the magic of Christmas alive with newly renovated indoor and outdoor spaces. This is a great spot to toast the special season.

The fully enclosed, stylish Louis Terrace, set among lush greenery and featuring a central fireplace with lounge seating, provides the perfect ambiance for end-of-year gatherings (minimum 20 guests). Louis Restaurant’s exciting menu, by Culinary Director Ben Willis, makes celebrations memorable (minimum eight guests)

Louis Terrace

Louis Terrace. Photo: Romello Pereira.

Also part of the Real Precinct is rooftop Leyla, a cocktail bar with sweeping skyline views of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and beyond.

Hotel Realm’s expert function staff help make organising a Christmas function seamless. Food and drink packages are available for events of all sizes, all budgets, and all styles imaginable.

On Google, James Flett wrote, “The Realm is a convenient hotel that holds a high standard of quality ... high level of service, high level of attention and high standards …”

King O'Malley's

Christmas party functions at King O’Malley’s, an institution conveniently located in the city, take place in unique, warm spaces surrounded by Canberra artefacts and conversation starters. Each venue space has its own identity and style, and functions can easily be decked out for the festive season. Experienced venue staff are dedicated to making Christmas parties memorable.

King O’Malley’s accommodates functions for groups from eight to 150.

The Snug Room is a quiet, private room for around 25 people, nestled among solid timber bookshelves filled with an impressive range of historic tomes and fascinating antiquities. It’s a perfect space for more intimate functions during the Christmas period.

For groups of up to 45 guests, The Castle Room can easily be sectioned off for near-private use for up to 24 people ready to celebrate the holiday season. The room can be opened with bi-fold doors to the next largest venue space, The Guinness Room.

Also known as the Arcade, The Guinness Room is away from the central busy area of the pub. It suits sit-down Christmas functions for larger groups of up to 90 people. Bi-fold doors can be opened to the Castle Room.

A special functions menu is available. The kitchen is expert at serving large crowds so guests can kick back and sing their favorite Christmas carols.

On Google, James Mouat wrote, “An institution in the ACT with an iconic city centre location, King O'Malley’s is a consistent gem of a venue that earns its place on the top 10 pubs of Canberra.”

QT Hotel

A stylish Christmas party venue, QT Canberra does “merry everything” during the festive season, both naughty and nice. Get carried away in Christmas indulgence with a party decked in culinary cheer at QT Canberra.

Christmas venues range in capacity and QT Canberra rolls out parties for intimate groups of 10 up to mega crowds of up to 700. Event packages, with a quirky QT twist, are available for all tastes and budgets. QT Canberra is perfect for family feasts, office occasions, or seasonal celebrations with friends or colleagues.

QT Lounge, perched on the 15th floor with floor-to-ceiling windows, an exclusive bar and panoramic views of the city, is a Santa favorite. The pillarless QT Ballroom has a massive 1,000-guest capacity. Lucky’s Speakeasy, a slick venue with mood lighting and black leather couches, is a perfect party venue for up to 300 guests. Christmas is creative at Cahoots Event Lounge with its grand bar.

Festive set menus and festive feasting menus (two and three courses) are available. Also talk to QT about its canape menu and top-drop party packages.

On Google, Emma Hawkins wrote, “We were absolutely blown away with the service at the Canberra QT. The staff were so friendly and made us feel like royalty.”

Thoroughbred Park

Looking for the ultimate venue to host a Christmas party or festivity? Thoroughbred Park in Canberra is the perfect place to celebrate any event any time of the year. It’s truly special for the Christmas season.

Thoroughbred Park has something for everyone. It caters to corporate, private and community groups looking to host an event. Indoor and outdoor spaces are set among green grounds with a picturesque race track front and centre.

With the tranquility of a park setting, views of the Brindabella and Majura mountain ranges, and only five minutes from the heart of Canberra, Thoroughbred Park offers versatile, light-filled function rooms and free parking.

All-inclusive packages are flexible and easily tailored to all styles of events and budgets, with menu, beverage and function offerings designed by the Executive Chef.

Thoroughbred Park spaces cover theatre style, cabaret, cocktail and buffet-style events. The Winning Post Bar, ideal for cocktail functions or buffet-style events, can handle up to 800 guests. The Black Opal Room and Silks Room – with floor-to-ceiling windows – fit up to 250 guests. The Rich Reward room has capacity for up to 150 and marquee spaces are available.

For large events, the Exhibition Pavilion handles up to 2,000 and is ideal for trade shows. Private rooms and lounge areas are great for small groups.

Beyond Christmas, Thoroughbred Park is known for Race Day hospitality and puts on events and functions with style throughout the year.

On Google, Benny Gee wrote, “Awesome facilities, friendly staff and good service.”

Dickson Taphouse

When it’s time for Christmas cheer and a festive functions space, think about The Dickson Taphouse. With two function spaces to choose from, The Dickson Taphouse offers clients flexibility for Christmas parties of all styles – work parties or special gatherings with clients, family or friends.

The Lounge Room, which seats up to 50 guests, is cosy, relaxing and can easily be decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy drinks from the bar and food made fresh in-house by the chefs at The Dickson Taphouse. The second functions space is The Dining Room, which accommodates up to 30 seated, is also a special spot to enjoy a Christmas party. This private function area is perfect for intimate gatherings and, once again, delicious cuisine is on offer. Hire is free for both function spaces.

What would a Christmas party be without great food and drink? The Dickson Taphouse has a special functions menu with a wide range of tasty canapes, cheeses and desserts. Drinks packages include selected beers, wines, ciders and sparkling, light and soft drinks.

The Dickson Taphouse is a classic corner pub conveniently located in the dining precinct of Dickson, in the middle of Woolley Street, with plenty of parking in the area and easy access by way of public transport or taxi services. For functions, an online enquiry option is available. More information, including on minimum spend, is available through the website.

David Melrose wrote on Google, “Great selection of beer. Good food. Lovely staff.”

Gold Creek Country Club

Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar, at Gold Creek Country Club, has one of the best dining views in the capital. Located in the prestigious Nicolls Estate, Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar handles special Christmas events, with flair.

Catering is customised to Christmas parties, large and small, and around any style and budget.

Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar’s menu varies with the seasons and always features pastas, steaks, seafood, poultry, salads and amazing desserts. The team in the kitchen is more than accommodating with special dietary requests. Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar also customises drink packages for the festive season.

Gold Creek Country Club, which has been going strong since 1996, is open for both members and the public wanting to host a Christmas celebration. The décor is functional and stylish. A stunning feature is the massive fireplace, an ideal spot to settle in for a pre-event drink, especially in Canberra’s cooler months.

Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar can be decorated with a holiday vibe and staff are more than accommodating with any requests. High-quality customer service is always the aim. No request is too challenging.

In addition to Christmas, Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar caters for weddings, engagements, birthday parties, wakes, and conferences. This unique venue has something for everyone.

Call or head to the website and complete the contact form to discuss your Christmas party with the staff at Trevino’s Restaurant and Bar.

On Google, Ron Parker wrote, "Very substantial Christmas lunch at Trevino's restaurant. Manager and staff very friendly. Clean and tidy. Can have 50+ in main eating area."

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage – an historic venue established in 1870 – offers multiple spaces that can easily be decked out for the festive season. The Glasshouse is a perfect place for Christmas, with a private bar and attendant (fits up to 80 people). The Shed seats up to 100 and has a private bar. Another space is The Marquee (fits up to 100).

Mark Heron wrote on Google, “The facilities are perfect for larger groups and small ones too. The food was delicious and the service friendly ...”

Assembly

Assembly is known for its interior industrial-luxe vibe and bright beer garden rolling green lawn. Its mix of spaces are available for Christmas parties and other functions and celebrations. Assembly can cater to between 40 and 120 guests. Christmas packages cover every type of event, from small gatherings to banquet dinners.

Ian Esplin wrote on Google, “A vibrant atmosphere with the capacity to cater to large numbers both inside and outside ... The bar and food service are very friendly, quick and efficient ...”

The Marion

Christmas is special at The Marion, whether an intimate party, a cocktail theme or a grand sit-down dinner. Festive functions can accommodate up to 180 guests seated through to 250 standing. The Marion tailors special celebrations and events for private, corporate and business clients. Its outstanding food and beverage packages are designed to suit every occasion.

Sam Smith wrote on Google, “I attended a function at The Marion the other night. The food was excellent and the staff friendly and attentive.”

If you’re looking for more information on Christmas party venues in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best cocktail bars, the best wine bars, the best catering services, the best function venues, the best event planners, the best catering services and the best bands for booking events the city has to offer.

Your experience with Christmas party venues in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the Christmas party venues listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance do I need to book a Christmas party venue?

The earlier you book your Christmas party venue, the better. The best venues are booked out quick sharp. The last thing you need is to be stuck without a venue. Plan months in advance to give yourself peace of mind.

Should I theme the Christmas party?

Whether to theme your Christmas party is a matter of personal choice. You might be happy to just enjoy the festive decorations put on by the venue itself. Or you might want to create a unique theme. You could even consider a colour-based theme (red, white and green is perfect for Christmas) or be more elaborate.

How do I choose the best Christmas party venue?

You need to think about several factors when choosing the best Christmas party venue. Start with your budget. Location is important. You’ll also want to look at food-and-beverage packages and whether the venue needs decorating. Always ask for an itemised quote, so you’re not caught off guard at bill-paying time.

What’s the best food to serve at a Christmas party?

To a large extent, food selection depends on your group size, venue type and the ''personality'' of your Christmas party. Timing can also be important (day versus night, for example). If you’re putting on a stand-up event, then think about choosing lovely-looking and tasty canapes. If your Christmas party is a sit-down event, you might want to consider a more formal, set menu. Ask the venue for suggestions.

How much does it cost to book a Christmas party venue?

The cost depends on the size of your party, the style of your party and whether you need special services such as decorating. It’s best to talk to the venue about detailed, itemised costs.

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