Attention parents - I have found the place for y'all to be "seen" at this summer. This place is SO cool and it is also SO child friendly. Let me introduce you to The Greens:
The Greens is brand spanking new, and it has made its home in the old Norths Bowling Club. This is located in one of my favourite parts of North Sydney, just behind beautiful North Sydney Oval where the surrounding views over Sydney Harbour are fantastic, and at this time of year there is a purple hue everywhere courtesy of the many flowering jacaranda trees. I remember going to the Bowlo quite a few years back when in my pre kidlet days I worked nearby, and trust me the transformation from what it used to be from what The Greens has now become, is awe inspiring!
Being a club you have to sign in when you first arrive at The Greens, and then you walk in to a beautiful large space dominated by plants and an eclectic mix of furniture. The feel is a wee bit vintage and a wee bit retro but very classy and very cool. The Greens is a bar, restaurant and cafe all mixed into one. You first come across the very well stocked bar. It serves a great selection of wines by the glass or you can go for one of the delicious sounding cocktails that are featured on the wall. Next to the bar is the baristas station where they serve up my favourite Double Roasters Coffee from Marrickville. This also doubles as a shop of sorts as you can buy some of The Greens home made jams, chutneys and pickled cucumbers. From here you wander into a large eating space that is dominated by a homage to the bowling club of old. And it is here that you will find a big stack of high chairs!
We arrived right on Midday on a sweltering hot Friday. There is parking out the front of the Club but you would have to arrive very early score one of these spots, otherwise these is a decent amount of street parking available and you can just walk up to the Club. Luckily for us we timed our arrival just before the hordes of local corporate workers from North Sydney had dragged themselves up the hill from the CBD to The Greens. The place was already buzzing with some gorgeous Mammas and their babes but some how we were able to score a glam booth seat looking straight over the green and the harbour! The Greens don't take reservations and at the moment they are open for lunch and dinner but from early 2015 they will open for breakfast as well.
Someone wasn't very happy sitting inside so we went for a wander in the 40 degree heat, leaving Mr Munch behind to fetch the food and beverages. The outside is the perfect space to be with kids (except when it is 40 degrees). There is loads of space with all sorts of seating configurations and it feels as though you are visiting a very glamorous friend's back yard. There are BBQ areas, fire pits, comfy chairs and a really relaxed vibe. Of course there is the well kept bowling lawn but there is also a vegie patch complete with a scare crow and last but not least the bird house.
The bird house is home to Beyonce and Eminem! Beyonce is a fluffly black hen and Eminem is a handsome white rooster who struts his stuff and has a fairly lame crow. Apparently on occasion Beyonce shakes her bootie and Eminem gets a wee bit excited. So be careful, your kidlets may get an early birds and bees lesson! The cage is also home to a couple of very cute baby quail and a galah who was MIA when we visited as he was away having a medical.
Whilst we were there, Beyonce seriously shook her bootie and popped out an egg! We got chatting to the lovely bird carer/gardener who let my little man hold the warm egg. (I'm not sure if it was a vodka infused egg as the bird's water comes from a recycled vodka bottle!) On weekends The Greens host a petting zoo and face painting to entertain children. There is loads of room for kids to run around outside and you can even bring along your well behaved fur babies as the outside of the The Greens is pet friendly. Just to let you know kidlets have a 9pm curfew - that is they have to leave the premises by that time and to be honest with you, if you are out and about with your kidlets after 9pm in a Club, you probably won't be winning any awards for parents of the year ;)
After all of the excitement of meeting the livestock we headed back inside to wash our hands and conduct the mandatory loo inspection. I am happy to report that the toilet facilities are excellent and the disabled loo is home to the baby change table. There is plenty of room for your pram as well, actually the whole of The Greens is pram friendly, but just be mindful that when the place is full is may be a bit difficult navigating between all of the punters standing around having a "working" lunch etc.
When we got back to our booth not only were our drinks waiting for us but also our lunch. You order and pay at the bar, take a number and the friendly wait staff bring your food out to where you are sitting. The food at The Greens is fresh and delicious. The chefs used to work at The Grounds (I think I am the only person in Sydney who hasn't been there!) and they have created a menu that focuses on fresh seasonal produce that can be easily shared. They want you to sit back, relax and graze. The Barman's Plate for Two ($40) of pork terrine, cured meats, scotch egg, house pickles, marinated olives, triple cream brie, heirloom tomatoes, bread & lavosh looked amazing when I saw a neighbouring table nibbling on it. I was also pleased to see that there are a decent number of vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu.
Mr Munch and I decided to order individual meals - a Wagyu Beef Burger ($17) for him and fish and chips ($20) for me. The burger smelt and looked delicious (and apparently it was) but I think I won with my "healthy" fish and chips. The fish was bream and the fillets were perfectly cooked and not deep fried as I was expecting. Baby gem leaves were slightly sweet and buttery and those chips - oh my they were good. They were beer battered and lightly dusted with sea salt and thyme. On the side was a little pot of home made tartare sauce which finished the dish off perfectly.
There is a dedicated kids menu that costs $10.00. The 3 choices are cheeseburger & chips (and the pattie is made out of wagyu!); crumbed fish & chips; and crumbed chicken & chips. The fish and the chicken both come with some of the delicious baby gem leaves. For dessert kidlets can have vanilla ice cream crumbled with choc chip cookies for $5.00. My little mate only wanted chips and a small bucket of these cost $8.00.
Just to let you know there are two awesome kid friendly events happening between now and the end of the year at The Greens. Firstly on Boxing Day they are hosting Cricket on the Green. You can burn off some calories after your big feast on Christmas Day by having a hit and giggle on the bowling green and there will be picnic baskets and eskys of cold ones available for purchase. Secondly on NYE they are having a ticketed event and kidlets are allowed to stay until just after the 9pm fireworks - there will even be jumping castles to keep them entertained. Trust me the views will be amazing, so forget about hanging with the crowds on the street and sharing those dodgy port-a-loos with strangers!
I think one of the reasons that The Greens is so family friendly is that it is run by people who have kids. The chefs have kids, the marketing & events manager has kids - so they get it, they get that parents like to go out with their kidlets in tow. And now we have the coolest place in town to go - so thank you guys!
So my dear Little Munchers, the child friendly Gods are most definitely smiling down upon us at the moment. The Greens is yet another example of where those of us with offspring are welcome with open arms. So I suggest you gather your mates and get ye to The Greens quick smart x
54 Ridge St, North Sydney
02 9245 3099
Open 7 days from 11am