A New Year’s Eve at Southbank Beer Garden: A $150 Disappointment

Ahoy, fellow revelers, gather ’round for a tale of New Year’s Eve woe at the “famed” Southbank Beer Garden. At a princely sum of $150, expectations were as high as the impending South Bank fireworks. Not only was I there with my girlfriend, but also 7 other people that I had recommended this evening to ($1350 in total). Alas, the reality was as deflating as a popped balloon on New Year’s morning, definitely akin to a walk of shame as opposed to a stride of pride.

The Doors of Deception

As the clock struck 7 pm, the doors swung open, revealing a promising night ahead. Plenty of people were lined up in wait, wearing everything from shorts and short-sleeve dress shirts to sparkling LBDs, some already having sampled some liquid courage for the night, others looking forward to the upcoming drinks and food to become available. Little did we know, it was the calm before the storm—or rather, the unplanned chaos—that awaited.

Drinks and Canapés, or Lack Thereof

One would normally think that a 4.5-hour drinks and canapés package would sound like the golden ticket to culinary and liquid bliss. However, what followed was a saga of frustration and disappointment. I’m generally a glass half-full kinda lad, but even a drinks package was not enough to keep me from not noticing this……shit show.

The food lineup read like a gastronomic poem, but the reality was far from poetic. The Beetroot Feta Tart danced on my taste buds briefly before disappearing like Cinderella at midnight. The Hummus Pumpkin Tart, a fleeting memory. Why? Because the small quantities meant each canapé that dared show its face was rationed like wartime provisions—one per person. Karaage chicken in the spotlight? More like Karaage Sneak-in, making a quick cameo and leaving taste buds on a tantalising quest for more!

The drink selection, a seemingly bottomless ocean of possibilities, quickly turned into a desert mirage. Long waits at the bar transformed thirsty partygoers into a desperate horde, clawing for the last drops of liquid courage. A set list of simple cocktails, promised until the wee hours, vanished into thin air by 9:30 pm, leaving a sobering realisation that the night would be spent sipping on the remnants of yesteryear’s regrets.

Understaffed Shuffle

The true villain of the night? The venue’s apparent desire to challenge the laws of physics by having fewer staff than atoms in the observable universe. This resulted in marathon queues at the bar, extended waits for elusive canapés, and the tragic disappearance of cocktails faster than Houdini in a straightjacket.

The Final Countdown

As the clock struck midnight, instead of toasts and cheers, there was a collective sigh of relief that this tumultuous evening had drawn to a close. The promise of a grand celebration turned out to be a masterclass in overpriced mediocrity, leaving partygoers wondering if they’d accidentally stepped into a sequel of the Twilight Zone.

In the annals of New Year’s Eve history, the Southbank Beer Garden’s 2022 celebration shall be remembered as the party that raised questions instead of spirits—a cautionary tale for those who dare to dream of culinary abundance and liquid opulence in the heart of celebration.

NYE at the Beergarden
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