16 October 2014

Where are all the Sunday Sessions?

| Krystal Sanders
Join the conversation

As always moving to a new city there are plenty of changes to get used to with East coast vs West coast living. And whilst most of the changes haven’t been too major- a couple of which I’ll address in the coming weeks, the first one that springs to mind, especially given last weekends spectacular weather is the humble Sunday Session.

The culture of Sunday Sessions in Canberra doesn’t seem to overly exist to my knowledge. Only too often in Perth would the weekly discussion revolve around where we were heading off to for a few bevvies on Sunday afternoon. There would be at least 6 or 7 pubs in Perth that boast a fairly well known busy Sunday sesh. These being from right on the beach to the inner suburbs aswell. However Canberra, with the exception of the newly opened Hopscotch and I have been told the ‘Lighty’ in Belconnen, it doesn’t really seem to be the done thing over here. And it’s not about getting written off before work the next day, it’s about soaking up as much of the weekend that there is to offer and also bathe in the sun as many of us do. Though I’m sure there’s plenty that go for the former too.

So my question is where do all the sun seeking, thirsty, fake tanned, lounge music lovers go on Sundays? Some of the best days in summer are spent fighting over a space in a beer garden! Does this culture not really exist because we don’t have that coastal feel for it and so many already head off to the coast, because the Uni crowd is all out on a Thursday night, or the offer just isn’t really there? What makes for a good Sunday Session?

I recently ventured out to Chisholm and tried out Rose Cottage which has a pretty good offering for Sundays, crazy cheap drinks, live music and plenty of space for families and a young crowd alike. It’s a perfect venue for a Sunday session, an older style pub with plenty of character and some cheap meals to assist in compensating for a couple of beverages. I highly recommend a visit if you haven’t been!

They even can offer a courtesy bus back into town if you have 6 friends that don’t feel like being the designated driver.

It got me to thinking that maybe that’s part of it – the space. When I think to Sunday sessions in Perth, they are usually in huge pubs that can hold a massive amount of people. Places like Matisse Beach Club, the Queens, the Left Bank and the Saint. (just in case anyone’s planning a trip to Perth anytime over the summer and needs a hot tip!) But in a city that isn’t say your more traditional pub type orientation it’s not like we aren’t short of a good bar or two.

I think- and hope- that this summer could possibly be the revival of a Sunday Session culture in Canberra and my prediction that Hopscotch will lead the way with this and is definitely going to be the one to watch – and I’ve got my fake tan and Havaianas out waiting in anticipation!

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

farnarkler said :

Boring, boring and more boring. If a venue has nothing to offer on a Sunday other than some cheap drink and a band, then no-one’s going to venture out on a Sunday. The Church used to offer drinking boat races, a stripper and a few other shenanigans and people love it. Make the event interesting and fun and people will attend.

Drinking games and strippers in licensed venues in Canberra? Pfft dream on

Has anyone tried the Moonlight Stretch Limo (the Moonlight Bus)? I hear they are going to be putting on some trips to different wineries and country pubs too on Sundays – some with live music as well.


Boring, boring and more boring. If a venue has nothing to offer on a Sunday other than some cheap drink and a band, then no-one’s going to venture out on a Sunday. The Church used to offer drinking boat races, a stripper and a few other shenanigans and people love it. Make the event interesting and fun and people will attend.

braddonmonsta9:18 am 17 Oct 14

I think there are a couple of reasons for this:
1. Canberra bars/pubs have way less restricted hours than WA, so people stay out later on a Saturday night and don’t need a second fix on Sunday
2. Shops are open all day on Sundays here, so people can use Sundays productively instead of lounging around
3. Canberrans like to get away for the weekend, especially during summer when people are actually keen to drink on a Sunday
4. For most young people here, the term ‘weekend’ is meaningless – unless you work for the APS, any day could be a Sunday depending on that week’s schedule

pink little birdie11:58 pm 16 Oct 14

George Harcourt has a good one. And actual grass. Try fellows at university house. It’s pretty and has grass and trees.
Why to people think hopscotch is good? You’re sitting on cement with no garden and the music is obnoxiously loud (was that a noise complaint on Sunday previous? – it was very loud across the street heading to civic pub on the way in and quiet with police on the way out.) Also there are a lot of people who can’t park in Lonsdale street on Sunday. If hopscotch is a good Sunday session I’ll continue to loiter in glebe park with a coffee as a Sunday session

Is there anything organised at any venue? I did a quick search and it appears only Sub-urban in Dickson advertises Sunday sessions on outincanberra.com.au.

Canberra needs an equivalent of The Church in London, the greatest Sunday session of them all. Perhaps it’s only tourists and new to town people who partake in Sunday sessions?

Queen_of_the_Bun7:57 pm 16 Oct 14

Walt and Burley at Kingston Foreshore has a singer and great views of the lake.

Madam Cholet3:50 pm 16 Oct 14

It’s a fair question. I feel a little disqualified from the question as I am now a parent living in the Canberra ‘burbs, as opposed to a footloose Sydneysider needing to soak up every last bit of the weekend (and as an excuse to down just a bit more alcohol for good measure).

However, the Foreshore area is not a bad spot in the late afternoon sun. Had a few lunches there last year that lasted a few hours – shades of (and only shades of) Kings Wharf & Cockle bay in Sydney, but nevertheless…

There’s also New Acton with the trendy new places around there.

I have also tried Rose Cottage and whilst it ticked the boxes in terms of outdoors, alcohol, sunshine, cheap food, music etc. I felt the crowd was not to my liking. Maybe too many kids getting away with being irritating whilst their parents enjoyed a drink.

I have to agree! Where are they? I miss the Cott!

I have been here 6 years and still haven’t found a great Sunday sesh. Have been to the Kingo in summer on an occasion or two and that hasnt been too bad. I also enjoy sitting outside at Edgars Inn in Ainslie, or Suburban in Dickson. Manuka has Public which has an outdoor area but is coverered though it seems to be busy much of the time. I still dont see any pubs with huge outdoor areas though. The ‘Kingo’ (The Kingston Hotel) and King O’Malleys seem to be the largest I’ve seen.

Some of the new places along the Kingston Foreshore might be worth checking out?… Let me know when you find them!

The Duxton in O’Connor used to have a pretty epic Sunday sesh, and the Lighthouse in Belco can be good depending on the weather. Hopscotch is definitely a good spot on a Sunday. I’ve also heard rumours that Public in Manuka can be good on a Sunday but can’t speak from first hand experience.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.