I've been to quite a few kids birthday parties over the last couple of years and I've always found them to be 'more of the same'. I know this is a bit naughty but I believe that a glass of wine might help the two or so hours go by that much easier. So recently when I was trying to figure out where to outsource my son's 6th birthday party to (there was no way I was having 13 six years olds tramping through my home), I had a light bulb moment and thought of the Australian Hotel & Brewery in Rouse Hill. They have an awesome play area for kids; they cater for birthday parties; it's indoors so you are covered if it rains (and it did!); they have plenty of parking and being a hotel you can have a sneaky glass of vino or beer!
So I emailed the functions team at the Brewery and they replied within a couple of hours with all the details I needed. There are 3 options when having a party at the Brewery (see above) and I decided on the Bouncing Birthday Party. As the party was going to be from 2pm I thought the options were better for an afternoon tea type of party. I confirmed the party booking with my credit card details and the staff kindly posted out invitations for me to use. In a nut shell the terms and conditions were that you had to provide final numbers and any other requirements 7 days before the function and on the Wednesday before the party your credit card will be charged for the full amount (you can of course drop in and pay by cash). Also there was to be adult supervision of the children at all times during the function.
Included in the package I chose were balloons for the table and you were able to request whatever colour scheme you like. They also provided colouring sheets and crayons for the kids attending the function. I bought a few extra bits and bobs for the table and I made the birthday cake and lolly bags to take home at the end. We had 13 kids and there was a table set up just for them. Of course when your kids are around the age of mine you are also going to have parents and quite possibly other siblings coming along to the party. The Brewery obviously realises this and they reserved a table right next to the kids table for any adults/siblings attending. This get a big tick from me as I've been to quite a few parties where you are standing for 2 hours straight, which becomes a bit tiresome after a while (insert one of the reasons you need wine).
We arrived about 20 minutes before the party was due to start. We met with our host for the party and she showed us to our table (s). As it was a wet day the Kids Playland was packed to the rafters with other kids who were dining at the Brewery and there was another larger party in full swing on the other side of the room to where our party was. However by about 2pm when our party kicked off, the room emptied out considerably. Soft drinks (your choice), and water, were bought to the table immediately and I told the host what times we would like the food and birthday cake.
On weekends the Brewery have face painters over the lunch and dinner period, so your kids can join the queue with all of the other kids visiting the Brewery and be transformed into batman, the hulk or any other superhero they are currently into (and of course fairies and the like for little chicky babes). If you want to have your party midweek you can hire a face painter, just speak to the functions team to organise this.
The party food consisted of enormous chocolate crackles, loads of fairy bread and a hot platter of chips, sausage rolls and crispy chicken strips. Probably because of the time of day, the 13 boys attending the party hardly touched the food! In the end I offered it to the siblings who came along to eat it as I didn't want it to be wasted. The boys were too busy doing what boys do - running around like little nutters in the play area.
For the parents I ordered a couple of plates of wedges and a couple of bottles of wine and placed them on their table so that they could help themselves. You can also set up a bar tab so that parents can order what ever they want. The Brewery also brew a decent coffee and they have a very decadent looking cake cabinet if you would prefer to provide something for afternoon tea for the adults.
At birthday cake time "Hops the Kangaroo" made a guest appearance in the Kid's Playland Area, with a little assistance! He was a huge hit and I think he even wore a few big hits. There is nothing like a big cuddly animal to bring kids out of the wood-works. Poor Hops (or should I say the poor sucker inside Hops) was almost tackled and man handled to the extreme! Anyway I'm pretty sure all the little kids enjoyed him coming out to play.
Our tables were reserved from 2.00pm - 5.30pm and I had written on all of the invitations that the party was from 2.00pm - 4.00pm. However everyone had such a great time that they did indeed stay until about 5.30pm. The only warning I have for you is to bring lots of gold coins. In the kids play areas there are machines that require $1 or $2 to operate - you know those Daytona race car thingys and those machines that have a claw and you have to guide said claw to pick up a fluffy toy, knowing that it never will. My kids had mini melt downs because I didn't have any gold coins in my wallet to play the machines and I think in the end they begged, borrowed and stole them off the other adults there!
I need to mention how excellent my experience was with the Functions team. You deal with Hills Functions when organising your party (the Brewery is one of a few hotels owned by the same company in the Hills district). My son's 6th birthday party was, I'm sure quite sure, a small function in comparison to some of the Functions hosted at the Brewery. However from my initial inquiry to the follow up I received after the event from the Group Functions Manager was nothing short of professional.
So my dear Little Munchers if you are after a party venue that's a little bit different and where you as well as the kidlets can have a good time, may I suggest the Australian Hotel & Brewery - cheers to that x
350 Annangrove Rd, Rouse Hill NSW
02 9679 4555