As a Canberra native who stayed at home over the holidays, I’ve been spending my summer catching up with the old-school friends who had come home to see their families. After high school or university, they’d flown the coop for cooler climes – not necessarily colder, just cooler, you understand – to Sydney, Melbourne, London … anywhere that wasn’t ‘boring old Canberra’.
Now I, obviously, am a big fan of Canberra. It is my job to write about how actually it is quite a cool place with lots of exciting things happening, especially in the food and wine scene. So when we went to the Jetty it was especially gratifying to hear those just-home-for-Christmas friends say, with a slightly incredulous tone: “But this is … actually cool!”
Yes. Yes it is.
The Jetty, for those who have missed the memo, is a pop-up beer garden on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin serving up Bentspoke beers, boujee cocktails and Canberra’s own Fricken fried chicken.
It’s a gorgeous setting with sweeping views across the water to the Carillon and Black Mountain tower. And there’s a suitably Instagramable swing for you to take a ‘New Year New Me’ profile photo.
There are plenty of spacious picnic tables to soak up the summer sunshine and beer hall-style seating inside the marquee, where you can always take shelter if Canberra turns on some less-than-summery weather.
The marquee also plays host to regular live music acts. You can catch local and even touring musicians four nights a week. Let some acoustic blues soundtrack your Sunday sesh, or let your hair down to some bangers on Saturday nights.
The drinks offerings at The Jetty are strong: Canberrans know and love a Bentspoke beer and they’ve got a range of tinnies and tap beers to cover all bases. Heaps Normal cans are also available for those aiming for a Dry January.
The Modern Cocktail company has a range of cocktails on tap featuring award-winning Four Pillars Gin. The Moscow Mule is a refreshing summer classic made with Eumundi Brewery ginger beer, lime and the Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin. Or go for a perfectly pink Bloody Shiraz Gin Spritz!
Drinks in hand, grab yourself a meal from Fricken while you explain to your friends who haven’t been home in a while that this is a home-grown Canberra business doing excellent things. Do yourself a favour, get the satay chicken box, and don’t forget a side of cauli nuggs.
There are also grazing boxes available to order, and if you’ve got a big group booking or function The Jetty can accommodate you with big shared platters of all the good stuff.
(And as a bonus: Fricken has great vegetarian and vegan options and a whole gluten-free range so everyone can join in the fun.)
Morning people needn’t fret. The Jetty Kiosk is open seven days a week for all your coffee and cake needs. Sonoma pastries and Axis Roasters coffee beans are a pretty good reward for running, cycling or even just meandering around the lake.
If you’ve got guests from out of town, or if you’re just looking for yet another reason to fall in love with this gorgeous little city of ours, head to the Jetty.
Very cool. Very Canberra.
The Jetty is located at Queen Elizabeth Terrace, Parkes. The beer garden is open on Wednesday from 4 pm until late, and Thursday through Sunday from midday until late. The Jetty Kiosk is open from 7 am to 4 pm, seven days a week.