169 Dolphin Street, Coogee
02 9240 3000
If you find yourself wandering along the coast from Bondi to Coogee, make sure you pack your wallet. At the end of your adventure, you’ll find Coogee Pavilion, the perfect spot to reward yourself with a drink and much more.
The grand venue sits in a building doused in history. Over the last 130 years, it has been home to a swimming pool complex, aquarium (complete with a tiger shark), roller skating rink and an open-air bar. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Merivale’s Justin Hemmes got his hands on it, converting the pub into a multi-level drinking and dining destination that’s worthy of the Merivale name.
The ground floor encompasses a raw bar, cocktail bar, wood-fired pizza oven called Vinnie’s, flower store and barber. For the young, or young at heart, there are ping pong tables and board games, a playground and a mini theatre.
Those without kids can retreat to the rooftop, an adult’s only area complete with four bars, a sweeping balcony with panoramic venues of the sea, and a lip-smacking menu infused with flavours of the Mediterranean.
No matter where you end up, you’ll experience the handiwork of Executive Chef, Jordan Toft, who has delivered a seasonal and coast-driven menu, using as much local produce as possible.
The time of day will depend on where you spend most of your time at Coogee Pavilion. If your walk takes you by in the morning, stop by for a Will & Co coffee – the house blend is a washed Guatemalan and natural Brazilian blend that has notes of caramel, toffee and macadamia. Pair it with the Brioche French Toast with poached rhubarb, whipped ricotta, toasted pecans and maple for a sweet start to the day.
Come lunch, and the ground floor’s diverse culinary offerings will have the whole family munching away. Vinnie’s Pizzeria will look after all your Italian cravings – try the Gamberi for a taste of local seafood, with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, wild prawns, fresh chilli and cherry tomatoes. Fancy yourself an oyster or two? Watch as the team of chefs shuck a dozen to order from the raw bar, ready to be devoured.
Arriving later in the afternoon? Make your way straight to the rooftop – after all, you’ll want to snag a good spot to watch the sunset. Start the deluxe experience with a beachside cocktail – the Cravado sees Wyborowa Vodka combined with lychee, mint and coconut water for a refreshing hit. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there’s also an impressive array of beers and wines on offer.
Middle Eastern flavours make their way into the snack menu on the rooftop. Start with Kefta Cheese Meatballs with lemon tahini and Lebanese bread or Grilled Halloumi wrapped in vine leaves. Larger plates carry the theme – Charred Octopus is served with burnt orange and crushed potatoes, garnished with a parsley salad and labneh. Grilled Lamb Rump is coated in za’atar and is accompanied by smoky eggplant dip and pickled red peppers.
Coogee Pavilion is as much of an adult’s playground as it is for kids. Get comfortable and settle in – you’ll be hard-pressed to move when you have great food and good times waiting.