St Kilda has got be one of my favourite places to go with the whole family on a sunny weekend afternoon. It is one of those quintessential Melbourne suburbs that exude quirk and fun and you can’t help but just want to let go, switch off from the daily grind and relax. With an abundance of grassed areas, beer gardens, the beach, playgrounds, Luna Park and the smell of the sea, an afternoon of doing not much with a bunch of active kids can fade into night with absolute ease. We recently did exactly this.
Melbournites have been so incredibly lucky lately to have experienced some of the most amazing Spring weekends, weather-wise. Our little family are sun and sand lovers and almost involuntarily our car headed straight to St Kilda Beach. We spent the afternoon rolling around on the grass, running in the sand , dipping our toes in the cold water (cue lots of squeals) and even popped into Luna Park for a quick ride on The Spider. We finished the arvo at Republica at St Kilda Sea Baths and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to finish the day.
What surprised me was seeing Republica through my mummy eyes. Beside the basics that make it child-friendly – good basic kids menu (with activities printed on it, value ($8 pizza’s on Monday night), change facilities in the building, pram access, a bucket of toys but what made is so great for me was the SPACE. With heaps of seating options: courtyard seating overlooking the beach, inside dining, courtyard verandah, function room and bar area you don’t feel like your kids are imposing on other diners.
The seating options provide a pretty varied but harmonious atmosphere. Indoors you can sit at the tables by the fire for a cosy more intimate experience. This is where we sat – despite the amazing afternoon, my kids where coming off the back of a late night previous and needed to unwind. We ate, drank and bonded over the Find-a-word on the kids menu. You can also sit in the sun-drenched courtyard on the weekend and enjoy some tunes or outdoors beach-side and enjoy the breeze and spectacular views while enjoying a casual drink. The kids (or you!) can also have a gentle swing in the cool wicker hanging egg chairs.
I love being able to experience lovely dining – great food, great drinks and all with breathtaking views and still feel relaxed about having my kiddlets climb up and down off their chair, on to my lap, on to Dad’s lap then back to their own without needing to constantly apologise to the other diners’ right on my heels.
According to their website Republica is a place “for the people”. They really do a wonderful job of making all ages feel welcome.