The Newport Arms was always a great place to meet some friends on a Summer weekend and pass a few hours having a chat and a drink. But there was no doubt it was looking a little tired. Enter Merivale who have now taken it over (and dropped the “Arms” from the name) and are gradually refurbishing it, with the first stage opening recently. Its a similar concept to Coogee Pavilion, but on a much larger scale, more outdoor space, and that great view over the water. A grey day and coolish day doesn’t stop the crowds from descending; a live band is playing and the atmosphere is relaxed as it ever was.
You’ll need to go with some friends so you can take a divide-and-conquer approach to the food ordering, as its all at separate counters. There’s The Shack (burgers, fish and chips, salads), Vinnie’s (Pizza), The Kiosk (rotisserie and meats), and The Seafood Market (self explanatory, and they were doing a roaring trade in buckets of fresh prawns and oyster platters). In the children’s play area you can also grab a coffee and some treats, or a freshly made juice from The Juice Bar nearby. Thankfully you’ll find a map on the menu to help you out
Justin Hemme’s was in the kitchen at The Shack that day, not quite flipping burgers but busy at the pass making sure all was running smoothly and calling orders. And if I’d spent a rumoured $50 million on a site, I’d be doing the same. Whoever trains his staff though, is worth their weight in gold. As it started to sprinkle, staff members immediately appeared with bunches of logo’d blue umbrellas, so people wouldn’t get wet while queuing for food. Others appeared with squeegies, getting water off all the outdoor tables. It was pretty slick for something that had only been open a few weeks.
The food was tasty and crowd pleasing. The pizza and the salt and pepper squid were definitely among the highlights. Burgers looked good but smallish for the price, add a snack of wings to the order as well if you’re going down that route.
There is a small parking lot (I expect it will be bigger once the full site is complete), but there are also shuttle buses from Manly. Thoughtful lot, aren’t they?
The Newport, 2 Kalinya Street, Newport