The best function venues in Canberra

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People in a theatre foyer

Belco Arts Centre’s vibrant Theatre Foyer is one of Canberra’s most recommended function venues. Photo: Belco Arts Centre.

A special occasion calls for a special venue. The good news is that there’s no shortage of great places in which to hold your next event in Canberra. Whether you’re planning a wedding, milestone birthday, engagement party or corporate dinner, chances are there’s a function venue in Canberra to suit your needs and budget.

In this article, we’ll show you what to look for in a function venue and list some of Canberra’s best. Let’s get started.

What makes a great function venue?

From decorations to catering and seating arrangements, there’s a lot to consider when planning an event. Getting the basics right, and enlisting professional help at the start (such as your venue’s events manager), can help ensure your special day is a success.

But what should you look for when choosing a function venue in Canberra? We recommend keeping the following points in mind:

  • Location. Location will set the tone for your event, so choose carefully. Do you need a formal space for a corporate function, or a relaxed space with a cosy, intimate atmosphere? In addition to aesthetics, consider practical requirements such as accessibility, parking and amenities. It’s all about making your guests’ experience as memorable as possible.
  • Food and drinks. It’s no secret that delicious food and quality drinks make for happier guests. Many venues will have in-house chefs and catering staff, while others engage external caterers for events. Either way, they shouldn’t mind if you sample the menu beforehand – though it may cost extra. Read reviews to confirm the quality of the catering, and double-check that the venue can cater to people with dietary requirements.
  • Experience and reliability. With practice comes perfection. An experienced and reliable staff – from the manager to the caterers – will help your event run smoothly. From planning to handling problems on the day, an experienced team will be able to put your mind at ease, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special occasion.
  • A customised approach. Look for a function venue that is willing to customise your event to suit your needs and your vision. You shouldn’t feel pressured into adopting a cookie-cutter approach if that’s not your style.

The best function 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 maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

Thoroughbred Park

Thoroughbred Park

While many think Thoroughbred Park is solely for racing functions and events, this special spot is so much more. Thoroughbred Park is perfect for a wide range of private functions, from Christmas parties, weddings, training days, conferences, special events, trade shows, and corporate dinners of all sizes and styles.

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

Thoroughbred Park has multiple spaces available. 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 race days and non-race days. 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.

Menu and function packages are available, including canapes, entrees, mains, desserts and buffet options. Food and beverage packages are tailored by Thoroughbred Park’s in-house chef.

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

Canberra Southern Cross Club

Canberra Southern Cross Club

Since first opening its doors in 1972, the Canberra Southern Cross Club has grown to become a mainstay in the local recreational scene. Now, boasting five unique venues throughout the region, the Canberra Southern Cross Club is also a name synonymous with events.

With a multitude of glorious spaces across it's prestigious locations - Woden, Tuggeranong and the picturesque Yacht Club - the club makes an excellent choice for your next event. Boasting a range of versatile function rooms the club caters well to groups of any size. From intimate gatherings all the way through to large gala dinners of 1,000 guests, they offer unforgettable settings both indoor and out.

When it comes to the main event, Canberra Southern Cross Club’s award-winning chefs offer extensive dining and beverage options, all customisable to suit individual tastes. Be it roaming canapes, seated three course delights, or grazing share plates, their culinary expertise is sure to impress. Moreover, their carefully considered beverage packages pay a nod to classic cocktails whilst highlight the region’s best wineries and premium breweries.

All venues are conveniently located in close to public transport and offer free on-site parking, making attending a breeze. And should help be needed, their dedicated events team will gladly assist in creating a memorable experience for all guests.

For a seamless soiree run by consummate industry professionals, look no further than Canberra Southern Cross Club.

Brooke Hall shared her event experience on Google, "We just had our wedding at this location and it was absolutely beyond our expectations and so beautiful.... Thank you again for making our day so perfect".

Woden, Tuggeranong & the Yacht Club
Dickson Taphouse

Dickson Taphouse

The Dickson Taphouse is a great functions venue for events of all types. With two function spaces to choose from, The Dickson Taphouse offers clients flexibility. The team works alongside clients to tailor events for any time of year, whether a work function, a significate milestone celebration or a gathering of family or friends.

The Lounge Room, which seats up to 50 guests, is cosy and relaxing. 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. This private function area is perfect for intimate gatherings and, once again, delicious cuisine is on offer. Hire is free for both function spaces.

A special functions menu is available at The Dickson Taphouse 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.”

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a dramatic and culturally rich venue for special functions and events. An elegant building flooded with natural light, the Gallery is like no other in the capital, with guests coming face-to-face with famous, infamous and sometimes forgotten icons of Australian history.

With multiple flexible event spaces, the Gallery caters to all styles of events – breakfasts, seminars, conferences, workshops, meetings, cocktail receptions, gala and conference dinners, as well as wedding ceremonies and receptions. Gorgeous, adaptable spaces can be combined to create vibrant, memorable events.

The impressive Gordon Darling Hall features a soaring ceiling, an abundance of natural light and beautiful drop-down pendant lights. When booking the Gordon Darling Hall for an evening event, the Tim Fairfax Forecourt, Western Courtyard and Terrace Rooms are all included. Evening events at the National Portrait Gallery can start with a private gallery viewing, adding an exclusive, special touch.

The Terrace Room opens onto a North facing, outdoor-heated terrace with iconic views of Lake Burley Griffin, the High Court and Reconciliation Place. Terrace Room One, on the western side of the main Terrace Room, is perfect for a breakfast, lunch, conference or planning day. Terrace Room Two, on the eastern side is just as suitable.

The National Portrait Gallery also has the lovely Liangis Theatre for conferences, film screenings or keynote addresses. This lecture theatre features a small foyer space ideal for catering and registration.

Events are supported with facilities including audio-visual, in-house sound, projectors and wireless internet.

The Fresh Collective are the in-house caterers that operate at the National Portrait Gallery. The Fresh Collective has a reputation for crafting exceptional event experiences with premium food and beverage in venues throughout Australia. With a team of dedicated chefs and knowledgeable wait staff, Fresh delivers a range of event experiences to suit any brief ranging from intimate dinners, corporate conferences, weddings, cocktail events and grand banquet feasts.

Alistair Nitz wrote on Google, “Out of all the national institutions located in Canberra, this is my favourite.”

King Edward Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600
National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia

The National Library is an iconic fixture of the Canberra skyline and our history. With stunning architecture reminiscent of a Greek pantheon, marbled interiors, kaleidoscopic stained-glass windows and stunning views across Lake Burley Griffin, the National Library is not just a great place for research but a beautiful venue for events and functions.

The National Library is home to a theatre, a conference room, and the stunning main foyer that can all be hired out for events and functions. The theatre and the Ferguson Room are perfect for lectures and presentation-style events, while the Main Foyer, with its marble floors and giant windows, can be fantastic for award ceremonies, catered events, or even weddings.

On Google, 'Local Guide' Ermi Isais writes, "This is a beautiful, pristine and cultural building. The library's cafe is decorated with stained glass windows which makes it an artistic atmosphere. Outdoors the back terrace overlooks the river, manicured gardens and a well kept garden."

Parkes Place
Parkes ACT 2600
The Pavilion On Northbourne

The Pavilion On Northbourne

The Pavilion On Northbourne Hotel is a unique functions venue for clients wanting to entertain, enlighten or educate, with spaces available for up to 250 guests.

The dedicated functions team assists with planning conferences and special events of all sizes and types, including weddings, celebrations and seasonal occasions such as Christmas.

The Pavilion On Northbourne masterfully handles intimate, elegant celebrations for two right through to large gatherings of family, friends, clients and colleagues, paying full attention to detail. The Executive Chef tailors menus using the finest regional and seasonal produce, with all dishes expertly prepared.

Flexible packages, flexible catering and special inclusions provide value-for-money. The Pavilion On Northbourne offers multiple spaces to choose from, including a beautiful, tropical atrium.

Free secure parking and WiFi available.

Stephen Clarke wrote on Google, “This hotel was perfect for our winter wedding, with a climate controlled indoor space that still felt like an outdoor space.

242 Northbourne Avenue
Dickson ACT 2602
Belconnen Arts Centre

Belconnen Arts Centre

The Belconnen Arts Centre, established in 2009, is a thriving, creative, purpose-built venue that sets functions apart. Located in the heart of Belconnen, overlooking Lake Ginninderra, the Centre is easily reached. “Belco Arts” has several facilities, varying in size, style, flexibility and capacity (12 to 400 people).

Unique function spaces included The Theatre, Rehearsal Room, Theatre Foyer, Generator Gallery, Dance Studio, Meeting Room and Workshops.

On Google, Leonard Low wrote, “Modern and upmarket building with great facilities … Magnificent location overlooking the lake …”

118 Emu Bank
Belconnen ACT 2617

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage – an historic venue established in 1870 – offers unique function spaces. The Glasshouse, with a private bar, can be ‘dressed to impress’ and fits up to 80 people. The Shed seats up to 100 and also has a private bar. Another space is The Marquee (fits up to 100) and areas in the garden and on the deck can be hired.

Lexxie Jury wrote on Google, “My family were there for an engagement party ... Plenty of seating. Plenty of space to dance. Was a great night.”

To assist with planning your function, check out our list of the best event planners in Canberra. You might also like our list of the best catering services Canberra has to offer.

Or, if you’re planning a child’s birthday, our article on the best kids’ birthday party venues in Canberra may be helpful for you.

Your experience with function 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 function venues listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I provide the venue with my own decor for my function?

Absolutely, but within reason. Venue managers should have no trouble with you bringing your own table decorations, such as flowers or candles, and some smaller things like balloons. However, if you want to bring some big decorations or reorganise the space, communicate with your venue manager and see what he or she can do for you.

What info do venue managers need ahead of the function?

The most important information is how many people will be attending your event. After that, it depends on whether your venue is providing food and drinks as well - and if so, you will need to talk to them about any dietary requirements that need to be accommodated.

Can I organise entertainment for my function?

Usually, yes. This will take some coordination between the venue and your entertainment - live bands, for example, will require space and easy access to power. As long as you give all parties enough notice, this should be fine.

What extra service can venues provide for my function?

Besides just the space for your event, venues can provide catering and decoration. Most venues will have event packages from which you can choose, to help make the logistics of putting on your function that much easier.

Can I make special menu requests of the venue's caterers?

Absolutely! Any caterer will want to know - with plenty of notice - about dietary requirements and allergies. If you want them to make specific dishes, or perhaps you're thinking of providing your own dessert, just make sure you give them plenty of notice to see whether they are capable of making those kinds of changes.

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