A step by step guide for coffee lovers and where to celebrate St Patrick's Day | NIBBLES

LABOUR OF LOVE: Bob Dennerley sitting at Favourite Chair Cafe in Maitland with his Coffee Map of Maitland and East Maitland. Picture: Simone De Peak

LABOUR OF LOVE: Bob Dennerley sitting at Favourite Chair Cafe in Maitland with his Coffee Map of Maitland and East Maitland. Picture: Simone De Peak

Bob Dennerley is a self-confessed coffee addict.

By day he works at Dennerley Leather Designs but by night, he can typically be found meticulously pinpointing his favourite Maitland and East Maitland coffee shops on a hand-drawn map.

For two years Mr Dennerley spent 20 hours a week perfecting his first coffee map and it has, he told Food & Wine, been “a smash hit” among fellow coffee lovers. You can pick up a copy at his Maitland store.

“I’m old school. I don’t use a computer and wouldn't know how to, to be honest,” he said.

“This was a labour of love. I also made some interesting historical discoveries about Maitland and East Maitland while doing my research, which was a bonus.”

Mr Dennerley loves a chat, so keep an eye out for him when you next enjoy a cuppa, or pop in and see him at his store. 

St Pat’s Day

Friday is St Patrick’s Day and many venues around the region will be celebrating. 

Finnegan’s will be opening their doors at 10am. The bistro will  be open all day, serving a selection of Irish specials. Live Irish entertainment kicks off in the main bar at 5.30pm and there will be DJs in all three rooms.

The Pourhouse in Maitland and the Northern Star Hotel will be celebrating, as will Murray’s Brewery, which is pouring Murray’s Firehouse Irish Red Ale until it runs out. Food specials will include Irish pies and stews and there will be live entertainment all weekend. 

Murray's Brewery's chunky steak and onion pie (braised in Murray's Dark Knight Beer), accompanied by Murray's Firehouse Irish Red Ale. Picture: Supplied

Murray's Brewery's chunky steak and onion pie (braised in Murray's Dark Knight Beer), accompanied by Murray's Firehouse Irish Red Ale. Picture: Supplied

Warners Bay Hotel is throwing a St Pat’s Party with guest DJs, Irish games and giveaways. The first 50 people through the door from 8.30pm will receive a free St Patrick’s top hat.

Hotel Jesmond will be serving green beer to those wearing green and at Maitland’s Belmore Hotel punters are being encouraged to get in costume and enjoy a variety of drinks specials. 

A little further afield at Seabreeze Beach Hotel, South West Rocks, all are invited to wear green, sip on sour leprechaun cocktails, folk dance to Irish music and feast on beef and Guinness pie.

Get hooked

Hooked Bar & Grill has opened at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. It is open for lunch and dinner seven days, and for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Each week new $15 lunch specials will be offered. 

Fernleigh feast

From the end of March, Fernleigh Cafe will be open for a “Tapas Feast” on Friday and Saturday nights. Bring your own wine, no corkage.

“We've often done blackened fish and when I saw the blackened salmon with the orange yoghurt sauce I thought ‘we've gotta do that’,” chef Tom Ryan said on social media.

“The great news for our vego friends is that when we tried it using blackened tofu, our vego testers loved it. Baked tofu is also used instead of the meatballs and we’ve got a lovely caramelised, crispy red capsicum and haloumi salad along with our mushroom rice balls.”

Just quietly, the menu looks amazing. 

Swan Street fun

Morpeth Comes Alive on March 18 with streets eats, entertainment and Swan Street stores open until late. Cafes and takeaway outlets will be offering a range of food at family-friendly prices and you will be able to explore the town’s boutique stores and enjoy live entertainment from performers like Mel Yeates, who is travelling Australia raising funds for Love Your Sister and beyondblue.

Children will be able to explore a fire engine and watch balloon artistry, visit the museum for free and sink their teeth into ice-cream and fairy floss. There will be market and food stalls and, rumour has it, some stores will be offering free champagne. The fun starts at 5.30pm. 

Round two

Feast Fest returns to Blacksmiths at 4pm on Saturday, March 18. Taste of Europe, Red Belly Gourmet, PK’s Kitchen & Pantry, Mama Linh’s, A Little Bit of Spain and Smokin’ Hot n Saucy are among the food stalls already confirmed. 

Beer masterclass

The Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie is hosting the Dusty Miner Beer Masterclass on April 1, 3pm to 5pm,  with brewer Stuart Duff. Tickets cost $29 per person and bookings are essential by phoning 4930 1201.

Mr Duff was a home brewer for 20 years before building a nano brewery, Dusty Miner Brewery, at Aberglasslyn in 2014. His first batch of craft beer was released in March 2015. 

New Boatshed

Rocksalt is being given a makeover and a new name – The Wickham Boatshed. An opening date is yet to be announced but Food & Wine has been told they hope to be ready by Thursday, March 16.

It’s a cafe on the marina, next to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, with “new decor, a fresh menu and excited staff”, a spokesperson said.

“We are passionate about coffee and quality service and bring years of experience to a great location. We will be open seven days, however will be trialing exact open times over the next week.”

Day On Our Green

Cooks Hill’s Lowlands Bowling Club is hosting A Day On Our Green on Sunday, March 19, 11am to 4pm. Entry is free and there will be market stalls, face painting and a raffle for charity.

Harmony Day

Food from a variety of cultures will be on offer at Charlestown’s The Place on Tuesday, March 21, for Harmony Day. From 10am to 1pm Lake Macquarie’s cultural diversity will be celebrated with live entertainment, speakers and, of course, food.