Strolling through City Walk this week, you would almost forget most of the world is still struggling through lockdowns. There are brand new trees and gardens, the sun is out, businesses are open, and Civic has a renewed sense of beauty and life.
After a very challenging year for the hospitality industry, Peter Barclay, who is the Managing Director of King O’Malley’s, has been enjoying spending time in the City as a visitor would experience it.
“Right now, while being interviewed for this article, I’m walking through the newly landscaped City Walk rainforest garden, which is absolutely spectacular. It was recently opened by the Chief Minister Andrew Barr and it has instantly made a positive difference to the way people use the space. People are on laptops doing work, others are having lunch with families while some are just chilling out among the tree ferns,” said Barclay.
“City Walk is really very beautiful, a car free zone like the New York High Line. I think there are a lot of positive things for us in Canberra to look forward to in 2021.”
City workers are just returning to their offices, and together with the newly open state borders there will be increased domestic tourism which will enable more businesses to operate successfully.
“Civic is continuing its transformation into a city centre that we can all be very proud of. On the weekend my wife and I had a very enjoyable dinner with a delicious woodfired pizza and bowl of ramen plus gin and tonics at the new Verity Lane Market. We also popped into a few of the other bars on the way back to Garema Place.
“Canberra has all these beautiful venues and passionate, hardworking people in the hospitality industry who are providing world class experiences for all Canberrans and visitors to enjoy.” Barclay said.
King O’Malley’s is back to trading seven days a week, and while they are still not quite back to ‘normal’ trading operations, Peter says that they are taking the process one step at a time, “In 2021 we’re looking forward to being able to host more live music again and to hold the events we all love, in particular St. Patrick’s Day on 17th March, as well as the charity events such as the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave.”
“We also support other community groups such as the Chess Club who have been meeting every Saturday for the last 20 years and now everyone wants to learn to play chess after watching new Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit!” Barclay said.
“We’re also supporting Nancy Sever’s City Walk art gallery on the floor above King O’Malley’s in the City Walk Centre Building. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday showing beautiful local and Australia-wide art which is another little hidden treasure of the City.”
“King O’Malley’s plans to partner with the Latin dancing studio above the pub with a South American themed festival next year,” he continued.
“Without letting the cat out of the bag, we have quite a few things that we’re planning on!”
When given the opportunity to send a message to NCAA members, Barclay said:
“This has been a very challenging year particularly for the National Institutions and tourism industry, but we will all get through it.”
“The tourism industry is passionate about doing what we do, which is to provide the community and visitors with incredible experiences, that’s why we’re in hospitality. We are glad that we have been able reach out to associations and industry forums like the NCAA, the Australian Hotel Association and SKAL and for the support from the Government and its agencies. The NCAA newsletter has worked really well, in keeping everyone’s spirits high through this time” said Barclay.
“We’ve all been through this difficult time together so we can all relate to it, and now we all want to work together to make our industry even better than what it was before.”