The Coogee Pavilion opened its doors last Thursday and by Friday night, the place was packed. And that’s no mean feat since it’s huge.
Occupying the cavernous corner spot at the northern end of Coogee Beach, aka originally the Coogee Beach Palace Hotel, at the moment the Pavilion sprawls across the entire ground floor of the space. Walk in the front door and you can’t even see the back of the room – and there’s more to come from the upper floor.
Not that we’re missing out on anything. Already there’s a pizza oven, oyster bar, cocktail bar, restaurant, normal bar, juice cart, coffee cart, DIY florist, gift shop, sand pit, board games, table tennis and private screening area.
Yes, you heard right, there’s a sand pit and table tennis. And a giant whale light installation on the wall, and a hanging chair. There are high tables, low tables, bar tables, benches, stools, couches, cushions, baby chairs. The Pavilion literally does have something for everyone.
And everyone seems to be here. Groups wait for tables by the bar, tables fill their plates with share dishes ordered from around the room and up the back it’s kids, kids, kids. But that’s ok, because they’re amusing themselves in the sand pit and flinging table tennis balls around the place. Perhaps ask for a table up the front if you’re not into that, but wherever you sit, don’t expect to share a quiet drink.
Instead start on the cocktail list, order a garlic pizza fresh out of the wood fire oven (beware, both of you will need to eat it, the garlic ratio is high), and just let the night take you.
The burgers are practically flying out of the kitchen, zipped around on tin plates by waiters who are already skilled at weaving through the crowds.
Given the beach is literally about five steps from the front door, the chefs have kept the focus on seafood, with a few fancy salads and land animal dishes. There’s smoked trout, grilled sardines, fish stew, today’s catch, Spring Bay Mussels, prawns, pippies, and of course the obligatory seaside seafood platter.
Are you sensing a theme here? The Coogee Pavilion has a little bit of everything, and pretty much caters to everyone.
169 Dolphin Street, Coogee
(02) 9240 3000