We'll only be days out of lockdown but are you ready to take a gamble on Melbourne Cup Day?
Several venues around Canberra are saddling up for celebrations on November 2 but if you're keen to get a ticket for the town's premier event, that horse has already bolted.
The Hotel Realm is always the place to be seen on Cup Day and tickets sold out to the 2021 events within 24 hours.
DOMA's director of hotels Patrick Lonergan said people love the glamour of being able to dress up and cheer on their pick in the race alongside friends and colleagues at what's considered one of the major events on the Canberra social calendar.
"Traditionally there are Melbourne Cup celebrations on everywhere, from a few friends watching together at home over a casual meal, to boardroom lunches in workplaces, through to more formal, large events like the Melbourne Cup function we usually host at Hotel Realm," he said.
"We have been hosting Canberra's go-to Melbourne Cup party for years now. I'm really happy to be putting on this year's event, as a few months ago I didn't know if it would be possible.
"Thankfully restrictions have eased to allow us to put on a great event, although somewhat smaller than we usually do."
Their VIP COVID-compliant packages at Buvette and Ostani Bar were snapped up quick by keen punters and not surprisingly so.
Deals there included beer and wine packages, premium canapes, charcuterie and live cooking stations, as well as pop-up bars from Barcardi, Hendricks, Select, Hennessy, Piper-Heidsieck and Capital Brewing Co.
But you can still enjoy some of that Realm vibe at home - assuming you have some well-dressed and rowdy friends to invite over - on November 2 you can have 10 people visit your home, or a gathering of 30 people outside - with special catering packages available.
Enjoy seafood boxes (for 10) full of freshly shucked South Coast oysters or freshly peeled prawns; charcuterie boxes brimming with cured meat, serrano ham, chilli and fennel salami, cheddar, brie, baby gherkins and onions, olives, stuffed capsicum, water crackers and lavosh; dip and cheese boxes; a "rolls and wrap" box; and finish off with a selection of mini cakes.
- Booking at shop.hotelrealm.com.au with 48 hrs notice required, pick-up on the day between 9.30-11.30am from Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar. All platters are presented in cardboard boxes, no plates or cutlery provided.
At QT Canberra, the Front Runners package is a two-course sit down meal from executive chef Josh Smith-Thirkell, think seafood starter followed by a rib-eye or prawn linguine.
There's a glass of G.H. Mumm on arrival, and a three-hour beverage package where the focus is on Canberra producers.
Hosted by the HIT Network's Ned and Josh, there'll even be a Fashions on the Field event for those fans who've been aching to get out of their activewear. Dust off your fascinator.
Sponsored by Dal Zotto and Bentspoke Brewery, the bubbles will be flowing from the time you arrive at Pialligo Estate.
Reconnect over lavish menus: Smokehouse charcuteries, king prawns, seaweed butter and finger lime, oysters, caviar blini, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and roast sirloin, accompanied by Pialligo regionals wine and Dal Zotto Prosecco on arrival.
There are two options: the Pavillion Dining experience includes five courses and a three-hour drinks package; in the Estate Glasshouse, it's four-courses and a three-hour wine package.
Groups are welcome but early bookings are recommended.
This O'Connor favourite is always a good bet on Cup Day. Book a table to enjoy a four-course meal and drinks package from 1-3pm. Plenty of big screens to enjoy the race. We're putting money on the chocolate parfait, rocky road and honeycomb cream dessert.
DIY Cup Day
If you can't get a ticket to ride but are still keen for a Cup Day gathering plenty of places are still doing hampers and grazing boxes.
Amici Bar'sperfect picnic pack would be perfect. There are meats and cheeses, crackers and bread, you can add in pate and wine, beer or cider, with a sweet treat of nougat and chocolate. The Merchants Feastis also another online deli worth browsing. A super range of packs available full of breads, cold meats and cheeses. Graze Uphas a range of sizes, for one to two people, up to a dozen. A nice range of savoury and sweet.
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