There's no better Australian tradition than skiving off work at noon on the first Tuesday of November to gorge on barbecue chickens and fizzy drinks for three hours before settling in to watch a horse race on the tiny television in the tearoom.
Or perhaps you're one of the thousand of Canberrans who frock up and race off to various venues to sip champagne, browse on canapes and watch a horse race on a screen large enough to be a garage door.
Whatever your fancy, after two years of COVID-affected cup days, November 1, 2022, is shaping up to be a good one.
If you're after tickets to what's considered Canberra's premier event at the Hotel Realm, that horse has already bolted. Tickets sold out within the week for the second year in a row.
Pat Lonergan, Doma Hotels director, said Melbourne Cup was the greatest "dress to your best day" of the year and he was sure venues across Canberra were looking forward to it.
"For Doma Hotels, Melbourne Cup officially marks the start of the silly season and the busy social run into Christmas," he said.
"At the Realm precinct we sold out our Melbourne Cup in a little over a week with 550 people set to enjoy Buvette, Ostani and our recently opened rooftop bar Leyla."
He said he was a little surprised how quickly tickets sold, given a couple of COVID-affected years.
"It just shows that people are loving being back out and about without the COVID restrictions imposed this time last year and we are looking forward to putting on a great day."
But if you're still looking for somewhere to go, don't worry, the Canberra field for this year's cup is full of front runners.
Here's a few to take a gamble on.
After being welcomed with a glass of Mumm champagne on arrival, settle in from 12.30pm for a two-course feasting lunch in Capitol Bar and Grill. Executive chef Michael Box is chief steward for the day, his menu includes such delights as Sydney rock oysters and slow-roasted lamb shoulder. Throw in a three-hour beverage package to get you through to race time and you're set. There's also fashions on the field, live music and pop-up bars around the hotel.
This event is showing a lot of pedigree. The VIP Glasshouse Birdcage Event might be as close as you can get to the real thing, with exclusive areas for large groups, comedian Marty Bright alongside a DJ and bar carts circling the tables. Pialligo has partnered with Veuve Clicquot for the day, with estate wines, aperol spritz and BentSpoke beers to wash everything down. The menu features smokehouse charcuterie, pastries and sandwiches before the seafood comes out - Claire de Lune oysters, prawns, even Moreton Bay bug rolls. There's also fashions on the field and a ton of lawn games in all shapes and sizes to keep you entertained. Because winning is everything.
If you're working in Woden, The Alby might be the place to go. It's offering a special four-hour package with access to all three levels. Receive a glass of Moet and Chandon champagne on arrival, and then there's tap beer, a selection of Oatley Estate wines, and cocktail pop-up bars from Woodford Reserve and Hendrick's to see out the afternoon. Add in live music and a DJ and a large screen in every corner, you might not get back to work.
Or if you're out at Gungahlin, Siren Bar could work. There's a seafood-style luncheon buffet as well as a dessert buffet. There'll be sweeps, live local music and best-dressed competitions. Once the race is finished, there'll also be a post-race after party. Book if you're after the buffet but there's also free entry on the day.
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 noon til 4pm. Plenty of big screens to enjoy the race. We're putting money on the chocolate mousse with honeycomb crumble dessert.
This city establishment could well be the roughie this year. For a starter there's a 4.5m screen. Forget seafood and champagne - there will be plenty of beer towers, burgers, wings and beer. Food packages will be available for groups of 10 or more, and there will be sweeps running all day, lucky door prizes and live music after the big race. From 1-3pm.
Hyatt Hotel Canberra will be offering a spectacular afternoon tea with barbecue-style savoury delights and grazing station. Guests will be greeted with a complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne on arrival, and they can enjoy live coverage of the Melbourne Cup race from the comfort of The Tea Lounge.
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