It’s certainly been a tumultuous time for us all lately, but despite the year we’ve had, there has been some pretty exciting new developments in Ballarat.
From a new brewpub and Chicago-style speakeasy bar, to modern Italian restaurant and Korean burrito bar, there is a long list of gutsy Ballarat businesses that have bitten the bullet and opened their doors during a pandemic – meaning you’ve got plenty to look forward to when you’re in town for the 2021 AusCycling Road Nations in February.
Who doesn’t love a good cold brew in summer! So where better to get on the beers than new Ballarat brewpub Aunty Jacks, which recently opened in Mair Street.
Aunty Jacks combines quality craft beer and deliciously snackable food with hands-on workshops run by Ballarat’s Dr Beer.
Around 100,000 litres of beer – including lager, pale ale, stout and seasonal specials – will be produced on site each year.
Follow the hanging lamp shades down an alley off Camp Street and you’ll discover The 18th Amendment Bar.
Named after the Prohibition which made it illegal to sell or consume alcohol in America between 1920 and 1933, The 18th Amendment takes patrons back in time to Chicago’s speakeasy bars.
Take a seat and watch the experts transform your favourite cocktails into theatrical masterpieces in very Instagramable glasses.
Or relax at Piano Bar and request a song you’ve been yearning to hear live.
If coffee is more your thing then you’ll be glad to hear a new cafe has opened on Eureka Street – somewhere that hasn’t had a coffee shop in the past 10 years.
Naming the cafe Mr Darby after their dachshund, the owners have added Greek food and desserts to the menu and the locals are loving it.
You’ll also find good coffee at Lilly’s. This pocket-sized shop, which also stocks lollies, cake and chocolate, has quickly become a popular spot with locals.
We thought you might have food on your mind at this point, so let us introduce you to Ballarat’s newest eateries.
In Mair Street, you’ll find pasta and vino being served at modern Italian restaurant Ragazzone. The restaurant’s clever chefs have found the perfect way to transform Italian classics into a work of art on your plate – think squid ink capelli d’angelo, spanner crab, chilli and roe, or Ragazzone tiramisu with soft chocolate, meringue and chocolate glass.
You’ll find a cool spot on the deck outside at The North Star, or you can pull up a recycled industrial chair at the Highlander as you indulge in their pub classics (although you’ll also find their menu has a big focus on local produce, in-house butchery and cured charcuterie).
Head around the corner and you’ll be able to grab a Korean burrito on-the-go from Black Vault.
The team behind popular pizza destination, The Forge, has opened up Salad Fix at their Armstrong Street shopfront for a healthier lunch option.
It might not be a new businesses (although it is certainly a crowd favourite), The Hydrant Foodhall has extended its seating into McKenzie Lane – making this the perfect place for brunch in summer. You will also spot Ballarat’s newest addition to its art scene, a mural by Travis Price created to honour the strength of the community during COVID-19.
And as for shopping… Not one, but three new indoor plant havens have opened. You’ll find Green Loft in Quarry Lane, The Green House is located in a historic warehouse in Delacombe and When Polly Met Murphy is in Doveton Street.
Just down the road at 1 Doveton Street North, The Outpost has upped Ballarat’s menswear
game with its hip line-up of “quality goods and genuine wear”, plus vintage clothing from the likes of Levi.
Owner Patrick Ibrahim has also collaborated with renowned Ballarat designer Travis Price to release a line of retro-inspired tees.
Local creative and owner of Ivy & Coco Bridget Veld has also opened her first bricks and mortar store in the Bridge Mall. You’ll be able to pick up one of her brightly hand-painted planter pots and pick your own flowers from her very cool flower bar.
Australian textile designer Nicola Cerini has also opened her first retail store in Main Road.
Become your own creative and let your inner artist shine over a glass of wine at the newly-opened Pinot & Picasso Ballarat.
Planning on staying a few nights? We’ve got you sorted. Located at the Ballarat Train Station, and only a few minutes walk from the centre of town, you’ll find the newly opened Quest Ballarat Station.
Or, take a step back in time and stay in a fully-restored 1880s Victorian property, Lyon House.