Life & Style

Here's what you read, shared and loved in 2021.

In what is our last article for 2021 we're keeping up the annual tradition of pulling together our top 10 most-read, loved and shared articles for the year.

Whilst we don't need to remind you of the year that was and wasn't, 2021 still managed to serve up some incredible venue openings, extraordinary eat and drink experiences, larger-than-life characters, the list even snuck in one of the city's most talked about events. With that said here's our top 10 for 2021 starting with....

10. Gung Gung's

So whilst the venue hasn’t officially opened, Gung Gung’s gave us just a hint of what's to come in 2022 with their takeaway menu launching at the end of Covid. Described by owners Jacques and Remy (also of Equium Social) as having a cheeky, erotic Chinese attitude, which raised many an eyebrow, the quality and unique flavours we have come to expect from the duo were everpresent, and we can’t wait to see where and how it all takes shape in 2022.
Address: 1 Maitland Rd, Mayfield East 

gung gungs chinese restaurant newcastle nsw

9. Bar Mellow

It was the highly anticipated next step from the team at Blue Kahunas and following a bunch of delays, hold-ups and a whole lot of hard work, Bar Mellow launched on Friday 29th October, in true style. Prudence and Byron have continued the fun at the Bank Corner location, bringing a unique vibe that delivers Newcastle its very own sophisticated wine bar which focuses on all things vino, cocktails, and refined eats.
Address: Ground Floor, 744 Hunter St, Newcastle West

bar mellow newcastle nsw

8. Breakfast in the Hunter Valley

It is the most important meal of the day, so when visiting the Hunter Valley you need to get your breakfast decisions spot on, which is why we dedicated an entire article to the best breakfasts in the Hunter Valley. If you’re planning on heading up that way soon be sure to check it out.  

cafe enzo hunter valley nsw

 7. Le Diner en Blanc

While the events scene has taken a battering these last few years there was a small window earlier this year when the sun shone bright and covid was a thing of the past. It was April 10th to be exact, and that's when Le Dîner en Blanc blasted into town. A Parisian-style pop-up dinner characterised by its famous all-white dress code and surprise location, which this year was revealed as The Station. For those who went, they are likely still talking about it, and the good news is... it’s coming back in 2022!

le diner en blanc newcastle

6. Newcastle Small Bar Guide

First created back in 2017 our Newcastle Small Bar Guide continues to deliver the hits and is a tribute to Newcastle's ever-evolving night-time bar scene. With the announcement of a 6-month trial of extended trading hours for 26 participating small bars and restaurants from October 1st 2020 Newcastle's after-dark offerings were given a much-needed boost. Whilst Covid is doing its best to disrupt the momentum, Newcastle's small bar businesses are doing all they can to power on through. Check the full guide here.

the koutetsu hunter street newcastle

5. Piazza Mercato

At the half-way mark it's Piazza Mercato. Brought to you by the team behind Napoli Centrale & Popolo Gelateria there were high expectations, and Piazza Mercato didn’t disappoint. Following 5 months of interior updates, the multi-level Hunter Street space was reimagined and reopened with a bang bringing with it authentic Italian eats, live music, gelato of course, and a gorgeous little Italian deli!
Address: 231 Hunter St, Newcastle

piazza mercato italian restauarant nsw

4. Locks Paddock

Opening in May of 2021 Locks Paddock was inundated with locals wanting to check out the new fit-out (formerly Oma’s). A neat, homely, and comfy feel is what owners Nick and Rebecca were working towards and perfectly accompanied by Nick's passion for country, blues, and folk tunes. When it comes to the menu the core of Locks Paddock's menu is focussed on beef and pork and a hands on approach to almost everything else, from the rolling of the gnocchi, pickling all the pickles, and even cheese smoking; Lock’s is dedicated to doing it all and doing it all well.
Address: 16 Watt St, Newcastle

locks paddock restaurant newcastle nsw

3. The Atrium

Not new by any means The Atrium, located within 48 Watt St has been an integral part of the 48 Watt Street event space experience, and earlier this year The Atrium was given a facelift and we were introduced to a new innercity champagne/cocktail bar. Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening you can drink and dine under the ceiling of sparkly lights in The Atrium, or take it inside to The Well which offers an intimate cocktail bar style space that brings live music, shows and comedy to the stage.
Address: 48 Watt St, Newcastle

well bar watt street

2. Cakeboi

The first step into the retail world by Newcastle cake maker Reece Hignell Cakeboi is the name and you can find Reece's gorgeous cafe in the lucky suburb of Hamilton. Reece was a contestant on Masterchef season 10 and for those who have followed Reece on his journey you would be aware of how it all began, which was long before Masterchef was even a thing, and was everything to do with his nan.

“Cakeboi is about those classic cakes, really old school desserts, like what my nan used to bake. This whole business is a homage to my nan.” - Reece Hignell

When Cakeboi opened at the beginning of 2021 there were lines down the street and their were stories of Cakeboi fans traveling from near and far to get their hands on some of Reece's tasty treats. 
Address: 48 Lindsay St, Hamilton

cakeboi hamilton cafe

1. Order a Foodie Box

If you had asked us at the beginning of 2021 what the most popular article of the year was going to be, ordering a foodie box would definitely not have been at the top of our list. In 2020 it was Saints Gin Bar taking out the top spot, in 2019 it was Flotilla in number one position, and in 2018 it was all about those much-loved Street Feast events. However, this year has been no ordinary year and it makes complete sense that an article about all the best brunch, lunch and dinner boxes created by innovative local businesses trying to keep you going through lockdown perfectly sums up the year that 2021 was.

order a foodie box

We're hoping that 2022 brings a fresh new start and a whole lot more happiness! To finish up we'd like to offer up some inspiring words from our Covid binging team leader, Ted Lasso,

"It’s the lack of hope that comes and gets you. See, I believe in hope. I believe in belief."

Have a safe and happy New Year, catch ya in 2022!!