The Museum Bar

16 Nov

Friday afternoon in Canberra starts out pretty gorgeous – blue skies, shining sun, decent weather. At 5.30pm, things turn, with huge black clouds sweeping in over the Brindabellas and a strong and biting wind. It’s a shame for The Museum Bar at (where else) the National Museum of Australia which is hosting its first evening of the season.

Fortunately, it doesn’t stop the crowd! We arrive to a big showing inside and out, just as the clouds settle in.

As the chilly wind picks up, the crowd moves from outside to in

As the chilly wind picks up, the crowd moves from outside to in

Inside, drinks are served from a small stand especially for the occasion. Lines fluctuate from 15-20 deep to no one.

Sangria and Spanish & Aussie beers are the order of the day

Sangria and Spanish & Aussie beers are the order of the day well as cider and wine.

…as well as cider and wine.

If you can’t quite read the piccies above, beers range from $6 (Carlton Draught) to $8 (Spanish beer Estrella), soft drink is $3.50, water is $3 (! I always think water should be free. This is just silly), and white/red sangria is $10 for a half litre, or $15 for a litre. Cider is ~$8 a bottle, as is wine (bottles of wine are $25).

Beer and wine

Beer and wine

Red sangria

Red sangria

White sangria

White sangria

We first opt for a litre of red sangria.

Red sangria

Red sangria

It’s got a great colour, but it’s really lacking flavour – very watery. That said, it makes it very easy to drink.

Later, we try the Spanish beer and a cider.

Estrella and Small Acres Cider

Estrella and Small Acres Cider

The Estrella is a premium pilsner, but premium to me like Crown Lager. It’s easy to drink.

Despite the weather, there remains a lot of activity outside.





We don’t try the paella, but others around us do, and declare that despite how it looks, it’s not worth the $10. Shame – it does look good.

A band goes the distance, even as the wind gets gustier and cooler – I’m impressed, but feel sorry for them, but a faithful few stick around to enjoy the show they put on. The female lead both sings and dances with another fellow at the same time. I can’t even do one of those properly.

I don't position myself very well for this photo!

I don’t position myself very well for this photo!

Inside, the music ranges from late 80s-early 90s (I distinctly hear Higher Love and Two Princes), as well as some more recent tunes.

It’s a good venue and concept, which will be made even better with the views across Lake Burley Griffin on a better weather day. What I don’t understand is that it’s only open every second Friday – I can imagine people across Canberra preparing for after work drinks saying to each other each Friday, “Is this a week that The Museum Bar is open?” and having to check. Why not every week?

Date: Friday, 15 November 2013

Cost: $15 (one litre of sangria) + $16 (one beer, one cider)

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more? The Museum Bar will next be open Friday, 29 November and Friday, 13 December from 5pm-9pm. The website promises more details soon.

4 Responses to “The Museum Bar”

  1. whisperinggums November 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Ah, as you were at the Museum, I was preparing to go up to Stromlo for Griffyn Ensemble’s Southern Skies concert in the fire damaged telescope. The weather threatened and it was cold but what a night, capped off by a drink in the cafe at 9.30pm when it was all over. It was a happening place albeit perhaps with a slightly older demographic.

    Isn’t Canberra just grand!

  2. Greg L November 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Free water for consumption is obligatory for licensed venues in the ACT, under Regulation 14(1)(a) of the Liquor Regulation 2010. You could send them an email just advising them of their responsibilities, because it could be something that gets their liquor licensed revoked (and that’s likely not a positive step). They may also be sneaky and give you a glass of water if you ask for it. (I personally dislike places that do this.)

    Small Acres Cyder is quite nice, and I had a pleasant tasting experience there (with a very accommodating host). It’s just outside Orange – sort of local, but not Canberra region.


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