Making the most of the spectacular view across Shoal Bay played a major role in the refurbishment of Shoal Bay Country Club.
The tired venue underwent a $6 million refurbishment in 2017 which took eight months before the new owners re-opened doors the following year.
"A big part of the refurbishment was building the upstairs area, which is obviously to highlight how good the view is," marketing manager Peter Lazarus says. "It has full 180-degree views of the beach, so it really is quite special."
The casual bistro menu can be enjoyed in the outdoor dining area and bar, known as The Patio, or inside at The Kitchen, which also offers water views. A striking palette of bright blue, yellow and white gives the space a European feel.
"It definitely has that Amalfi Coast, Mediterranean atmosphere up there. An iconic element is our umbrellas, which are blue and white stripe," Lazarus says. "They're quite visible from a lot of Shoal Bay. We also have retractable yellow and white striped awnings with low bench seating, so you can recline back. It's quite comfortable for an afternoon cocktail."
If you're in the mood for a long lunch, the space is open from 11.30am daily and the kitchen operates all day until late.
Here's five places with a great view to try:
Shoal Bay Country Club, 35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay
Cosmopolitan and modern but retaining the charm of its 1950s features, Shoal Bay Country Club's multimillion-dollar refurbishment has breathed new life. Each area of the club has its own distinct style (check out the cane lounge area for some Instagram-worthy backdrops) but if it's water views you're after, the outdoor Patio bar is the place to be on a sunny afternoon to soak up the view across Shoal Bay.
Bistro Molines, 749 Mount View Road, Mount View
Boasting not only beautiful food but also arguably the most beautiful view in Hunter Valley wine country, celebrated chef Robert Molines has served eclectic French cuisine from his award-winning Bistro Molines restaurant at Tallavera Grove for the past 11 years. Perched high on the hilltop at Mount View, the rolling green landscape is the postcard-perfect back drop for a long lunch under the purple blooms of flowering wisteria.
Battlesticks at Scratchley's, 200 Wharf Road, Newcastle
No matter how long you have lived in Newcastle, it's always a thrill to watch the ships move across the water into the harbour. Scratchley's restaurant is an institution for waterside dining in Newcastle, and restaurateur Neil Slater's Battlesticks Bar next door, which opened in 2016, is another spot that offers prime position. Fitted with floor to ceiling windows, the bar serves tapas-style share plates and desserts, and boasts an excellent cocktail menu of classics and signature creations.
The Boathouse Hotel, 6-8 Patonga Drive, Patonga
If you're in the mood for a road trip, head south toward the Hawkesbury River to The Boathouse Hotel at Patonga. The newly renovated and revamped hotel opened in November after undergoing a $5 million transformation. Light and bright with a coastal vibe, set yourself up at one of the outdoor tables on the waterside deck overlooking Patonga Bay and choose from a menu which offers pub classics as well as an extensive range of seafood dishes. Alternatively, grab fish and chips from the Boathouse kiosk and sit out on the jetty.
Rustica, 2/1 King Street, Newcastle East
Rustica offers uninterrupted views out to the ocean with its glass wall which overlooks Shortland Esplanade. The restaurant's Mediterranean-inspired menu offers tapas, small and large plates, as well as banquets for groups of four or more.