Muse Canberra: A cut above the rest

Thursday 10 August 2017
Alex Dickens's picture
Deputy Editor
The Shaker

Canberra’s hospitality industry is a competitive-though-supportive community, with new venues opening every day and old favourites establishing their position as trends shift.

To see how all this works, The Shaker decided to chat with Paul Eldon from Muse Canberra - a local favourite for good wine, food and literary events - to see how he has managed his position in the Canberra hospitality industry.


Hi, Paul thanks for chatting with us today! So tell us, what exactly is Muse Canberra?

Muse is one of the most unique offerings in Canberra's hospitality and cultural scene. Essentially, our space is where good food, great wine and the magic of the written word come together in exciting and unprecedented ways.


How does the Muse offering differ to other venues in Canberra? 

Muse boasts an innovative restaurant and award-winning wine bar, as well as a boutique bookshop with a thriving literary event calendar.

When combined together Muse offers visitors an unparalleled, food, wine and cultural experience all in the comfort of a cosy space. As we are the only place in Canberra that does what we do, we have managed to create an engaged following and new, intrigued visitors regular.


How did the idea of merging food, wine and books together come about? 

The idea for Muse was actually inspired by a similar venue started by a friend in Beijing, we saw an opening in the Canberra market and took it!

What were the major challenges you faced breaking into the Canberra hospitality market? How did you overcome them? 

Neither of us are from Canberra, nor have we owned our own hospitality venue before, so our local networks were quite small.

However, the Canberra hospitality community is - by and large - a very supportive one.

We met, made friends with and sought advice from others who have done remarkable things in hospitality in Canberra including Bria Sydney of Knightsbridge, Parlor Wine Room and The Elk & Pea, and Sam Burns at Barrio, as well as others along the way.

Plus, we do work very hard both in and on the business and are here six-days-a-week usually for between 10-12 hours a day to make sure that we are keeping up with the demand of the industry that we are in.


What challenges do you still face? 

There are plenty of new venues opening all the time so keeping our menu exciting, our wine list interesting and our events program varied is important to stay a top of mind in the Canberra market.

What events do you hold on a regular basis and are there any we should keep on our radar?

We host a more-or-less weekly literary event in the bookshop every Sunday and we host monthly Long Table lunch events, usually with a visiting author (and sometimes with a winemaker) for lunch or dinner where we match around four courses with wine. And, of course, the occasional book launch.

The event program from the end of August until December is packed full with an event every weekend and some during the week as well.

There’s so much happening though that it’s best to keep up-to-date with the comings and goings of the people of Muse through our website and social media channels.