Some local joints are so welcoming, they become part of your family history. The Terrey Hills Tavern is one such place. The sprawling, comfy pub and bistro is beloved by locals who start out visiting the playroom as kids, and years later return with their own children and then their children’s children. That’s our family’s story, at least! We headed to The Terrey Hills Tavern for a birthday lunch with three generations and found there really is something for everyone, from our two-year-old right through to Nan and Gramps.
A birthday lunch in our family is a very big occasion, and means a guest list of at least ten even for a casual lunch! So when a birthday rolled around, the choice was a tough one. We needed somewhere to accommodate a two-year-old, a six-month-old baby in a pram, two exhausted parents, the birthday girl (who is a wheelchair user), plus Nan and Grandpa. And amazingly, the Terrey Hills Tavern was equipped to meet everyone’s needs!
The Tav is made up of multiple areas, including a comfy lounge and bistro, a sports bar, and a beer garden. It’s the kind of place you can wander around for a whole afternoon!
The centrepiece of the place (and the area we focused on) was the Lounge Bar and Bistro, plus the Alfresco Beer Garden. The outdoor area is bright and has gorgeous views of the green valley below, plus a lowered section where bands perform, or during the Sunday afternoon kids sessions, you can see a wildlife show or a balloon artist making animals! There’s easy access for those on wheels, such as prams or wheelchairs, and there’s a gorgeous water feature in the centre that the kids found fascinating There’s table seating with booth-style setups, and shared tables in the centre space.
What we ate:
There’s TWO full, delicious menus, served from two fully functional kitchens.
Cheeseburger ($16), was the pick of the birthday girl, and is milk bun with beef, cheddar, pickle, onion, mustard, ketchup, and aioli, a well-executed pub favourite. The meat was juicy and well-seared, with a lovely chargrill flavour. The addition of ailoi gives a gorgeous garlicky undertone to the flavour profile. It’s served with a generous portion of crisp , thick fries, which were fluffy and seasoned well.
The Ham and Pineapple Pizza ($17) was split between the grandparents, and is gorgeously oozy cheese, lashings of pineapple and shaved leg ham on a medium-to-thin base with a rich tomato sauce. You can judge a kitchen by how well it turns out traditional meals, and this super-tasty pizza was a crowd-pleaser, with everyone at the table sneaking a slice! The pineapple was juicy, the leg ham sweet and crisp, and the cheese browned beautifully on top.
For the toddler, we chose Spaghetti Napoli ($10) from the Kid’s Menu and a Babycino. Her approval was obvious in the clean bowl she presented at the end of her meal, and her empty cup (plus her chocolate-covered cheeks after her babycino). And best of all, there are free Busy Bags to keep children (and some garndparents…!) entertained while they’re waiting to be served their meals. They include crayons, colouring and activity sheets.
We couldn’t go past at least trying a dish from The Cantina, so we opted for House Fried Corn Chips with Guacamole ($13). These were so more-ish they did not last long, with the ultra-thin chip crispy but sturdy enough to support a big scoop of the tangy, fresh avocado quac! The perfect side dish.
Best Features for Family Fun:
While the food was excellent, what makes Terrey Hills Tavern a family favourite is the thought that has gone into making the tavern a fun experience for the whole family.
The indoor play area is AWESOME, with a huge climbing frame, three ride-along cars anchored to the floor and wall-mounted puzzle boards. Because it’s inside, you can take advantage of the space no matter what the weather! When we visited, it was busy but not crowded, and the children were of vastly different ages and abilities but playing together in harmony. The space has wide slides as well as the play structure’s interior (which is full of rollers, climbers, and hanging obstacles) so everyone has fun no matter what their ability is. If your kids are teens (or think they’re too grow up for a slide!) in other areas of the pub you can find Daytona arcade games, Skill Testers and pool tables.
- Sunday 30 September: Face painting and Balloon Art
- Tuesday 2 October: Reptile Zoo
- Thursday 4 October: Magic Show
- Sunday 7 October: Petting Zoo
- Tuesday 9 October: Magic Show
- Thursday 11 October: Reptile Zoo
- Sunday 14 October: Face Painting and Balloon Art
- Address: 2 Aumuna Road, Terrey Hills
- Phone: (02) 9486 3343
- Website: The Terrey Hills Tavern
- Parking: There’s plenty of parking spaces available on site (and street parking beyond that)
- Toilets: Yes, and a separate baby change room
- Child friendly: Absolutely, yes! High chairs, activity packs and kids menu available plus a playroom and scheduled school holiday activities. Wheelchair accessible.
- Opening Hours:
- BISTRO | Monday-Friday: 12-3pm and 5-9m / Saturday: 12-9pm / Sunday: 12-8:30pm
- MAIN BAR | Monday-Saturday: 12-12am / Sunday: 12-10pm
Disclaimer: Our reviewer was provided with a free meal for her family in return for her honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
Photo credits: Katey Chesterton
For more ideas of dining options and things to do on the North Shore, browse our Out & About section.