The CLSK Guide to Circuit Work

This experimental page is designed to deal with the problem of where to stay, eat, drink beer, and drink coffee while in the country on legal aid rates.

There are certain minimum criteria for accommodation meeting the required CLSK standard. The premises must:


Suggestions to this page will be warmly welcomed. They will be attributed to the contributor, unless you do not wish your name mentioned.

I should make it clear that this web-site does not accept sponsored links, and that only recommendations from legal practitioners or from people with no financial interest in the venue recommended are sought or will be included on this page.



For some people, being in Sydney is a circuit, OK?


Taylor Square

Regrettably the Battuta Cafe Restaurant has closed. I would recommend for breakfast or a morning take away coffee Coco Cubano at 191 Oxford Street Taylor Square (phone 9360 2778)

For a cooling ale after court, hard to beat the Judgment Bar, first floor of the Court House Hotel, 189 Oxford Street, again diagonally opposite the Taylor Square Court complex.

Tragically, the legendary the Balkan ('the original Balkan restaurant'), at Crown Street Darlinghurst is no more, so it is no longer true to say that the most important thing to remember about Supreme Court work is: 'The Balkan is closed on Tuesdays'.

Closer to the Downing Centre is Quattro Passi at 176 Liverpool Street (telephone 9332 2852 or 0405 199 267) where you can be served genuine home cooked Italian food at inexpensive prices and be waited on by the lovely Vicki.


Having recently spent a long determinate sentence at Parramatta, I would make the following recommendations.

The Legal Grind Cafe at 8 George Street Parramatta (just across the road from the Western Sydney District Court) provides friendly and generally quick service for breakfast, and lunch.

For lunch and a contemplative beer after court, it is very hard to beat the Woolpack Hotel, at 19 George Street Parramatta, just to the east of the District Court. In particular for a quick under $10 Thai lunch, the hotel's M & J Thai, run by the charming and very efficient Kay, is hard to beat.

For a lunch when the court is not resuming at 2pm I would recommend El-Phoenician at 328 Church Street Parramatta for up-market Lebanese dining.



Newcastle Accommodation


After much delay, because of my technological incompetence, I can set out the report of one our most reliable correspondents, Michelle Swift:


'Yes, Noah's has beautiful views, but there is something particularly charming about the newly renovated rooms upstairs at the Grand Hotel. Yes, that is the one right across from the Courthouse [regretably no longer]. And still close enough to the beach to go for a swim or run before breakfast. You get your part of a huge balcony, and it's great having a place to hang out during the day when your matter is inevitably stood down for a while. Great 'home away from home office space'. Room 7 is large enough to do yoga in. And they are really excellent on cancellations, when you (inevitably) get not reached.

I suspect a Friday or Sat night might get noisy here, but they reckon it doesn’t.'

Rydge's Newcastle, corner Wharf Road and Merewether Streets Newcastle, telephone (02) 4907 5000.

More expensive than other suggestions, but only two blocks from the new court complex. The harbourside rooms have lovely views.

Noah's on the Beach, Newcastle

Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle, (02) 4929 5181

Interesting feature: close to the ocean baths

The Clarendon Hotel, 347 Hunter Street Newcastle

A very pleasant pub, with an art deco bar, and a a pleasant beer garden out the back. Relatively inexpensive accomodation also available.


The Quest Wollongong at 59-61 Kembla Street Wollongong (telephone (02) 4221 1500) has spartan but comfortable apartments and importantly only a block from the court (but all uphill). The staff could not be more obliging.

A bit further field, but with beautiful ocean views and slightly retro seafood menu, is the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant at Stuart Park, North Wollongong (phone 4226 1677)

Another memorable restaurant is Mylan Restaurant (phone 4228 1588), a Vietnamese restaurant at 198 Keira Street Wollongong.

For a contemplative ale after court, there is really only one choice: The Illawarra Hotel (telephone 422 9 5411), at the corner of Keira and Market Streets. Art Deco on the outside, Sydney cool on the inside, and close to court.


Albury is quite a foodie town, sitting as it does on the beautiful Murray River.

My choice for a stay at Albury is the Chifley Hotel, corner of Dean and Elizabeth Streets Albury (telephone 6021 5366). It is close to the court complex in Olive Street and restaurants in the main street, Dean Street. I regret to say if they are booked out, don't accept their recommendations for other nearby hotels.

I haven't stayed there myself, but colleagues recommend the Quality Hotel on Olive Street Albury, at 579 Olive Street.

For a very Sydney cup of coffee I would go to Jones the Grocer at 489 Swift Street. As you leave the court in Olive Street turn left and at the first corner (Swift Street) turn right, it is at the end of a short block.

For an after court drink I would recommend the zedbar at 568 Dean Street which is on the way back from court to the Chifley Hotel.

For an almost too Sydney dining experience try to have one dinner at source dining (open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, Thursday to Friday lunch).


Our correspondent Duncan Berents says that the best coffee is at the Goldfish Bowl Bakery at 3/160 Rusden Street, Armidale, 6771 5533. 'Its reasonable close to court for a morning walk but is probably too far away for the morning break.'

He also recommends The Welder's Dog at 120 Marsh Street Armidale.'As a bonus they allow you to order pizza next door and bring it in to accompany your local craft beers.'



There is a very nice 'hole in the wall' coffee shop, 'Crema on George', which is across the road from the court (to the north west) and is described as making the best coffee in Bathurst, to which assertion the queues attest. It is at 173 George Street Bathurst, telephone 6332 6357.

For a cooling ale after court, you could do a lot worse than going to the Knickerbocker Hotel at 110 William Street, Bathurst, which has quite a nice verandah bar out the back. It is about a block away from the court, to the south east.

Michelle Swift recommends the Accomodation Warehouse. She writes:

'love staying at this renovated factory. High ceilings and cute shutters in the bedroom. The place I had was bigger than my apartment in Sydney. Full kitchen. It is not as polished as it could be, but the owners were lovely and it is just a very short stroll into town. Easy to work on the massive kitchen table, and when the wifi was dicky, they brought me a cord to plug into the modem. Bless. Again, good on cancellations. A short walk from the very nice Cobblestone lane restaurant, where they treat you well if you are by yourself and working at the table.'

If you are looking to have a drink after 5 pm, I would suggest the Webb and Co bar, at 175 George Street Bathurst, just to the north west of the court.

For dinner, I suggest you try Cobblestone Lane Restaurant 173-175 George Street Bathurst, next door to the the Webb and Co bar.


Meaning no offence to Bega, but why wouldn't you stay at the nearby coastal village of Tarthra? Much frequented by Public Defenders are the Tathra Beach House Apartments at 57 Andy Poole Drive, Tathra (telephone (02) 6499 9900).

Duncan Berents recommends the Nook Tea and Expresso Bar at shop 3 Rixon's Arcade, 158 Carp Street Bega, for 'the best coffee I have found in the south. It is close to the court but hidden inside of a rather ominous looking 1970s arcade. Its worth the risk'


Alex Guidice, formerly of Broken Hill, now of the Central Coast (but our Broken Hill correspondent), writes in as follows:

My recommendation is for a steak sandwich from the Annexe Fish Shop which is on the main street, Argent St, diagonally opposite the court on the Western end of Argent St. Their number is 8087 3167 and a good time saving tip, is to phone, order the sandwich and then go pick it up and eat it sitting on one of Argent St's benches.


Our Cowra correspondent, Trish McPherson, of Indigo Ridge Wine and Acoustics, reports:

'We do quite a bit of work in Cowra and can recommend two eating places. Neila (in the main street) is absolutely great food and BYO but only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, no lunches. The second place, The Quarry Restaurant, is about 6km out of town on the Boorowa Road. May not be a lot of use to your colleagues as it is only open Friday and Saturday night for dinner, but Wednesday through Sunday for lunch.


Dubbo Accomodation

Again, a delayed report because of the technological incompetence of the writer of this page, but our Dubbo correspondent Michelle Swift reports:

The Dubbo RSL Club Motel (telephone 6884 2030) in Brisbane Street is at least close to the court, but I wish it had a bigger pool.

Dubbo Coffee

The best coffee I could find is the Grapevine Cafe, almost opposite the court house, at 114 Brisbane Street Dubbo (telephone 6884 7354).

Dubbo Pubs

The local criminal law practitioners seem to drink at the Pastoral Hotel at 110 Talbragar Street Dubbo (telephone 688 2421), and on a hot afternoon the upstairs verandah is certainly the place to be.

Dubbo Restaurants

I am told that sadly the Three Snails has closed. However my Dubbo correspondent recommends a Tapas restaurant called 'Two Doors' at 215 Macquarie Street Dubbo (phone 6885 2333). Open 7 nights a week is the Rose Garden Thai Restaurant, which is in Brisbane Street.

Suggestions from our Dubbo Correspondent

We have the luxury of two very reliable correspondents from Dubbo. One of our Dubbo correspondents, Ljiljana Bradric, makes the following suggestions:

"As a once, very Sydney gal, I have tried and tested some great, and not so great, culinary establishments in this wee old town.

My suggestions for surviving a visit to this town would include attending one of the following restaurants:

Lazy River Estate (about a 5 minute taxi ride from the 'CBD') - best ciabatta bread in the State!! (being ethnic, I really can make such a bold statement!!)

Cattleman's Restaurant - quaint food, nice 1970s décor, with a great big statue of a chef facing the dining area - somewhat creepy, but tolerable.

Michelle Swift ,another extremely reliable source, has nominated the Westbury Boutique Hotel. She writes:

'I am very reluctant to share my favourite Dubbo accommodation : The Westbury Guesthouse. There might only be 6 rooms there, and the blue one is mine, right? It is within walking distance to Court. The rooms are super-clean, dinky and you feel as though you really are in the Country. Way better than the motel type accommodation with the Spotlight bed covers, 80's brick walls and which require a car to get to and from Court. Try and get a room with a (shared) verandah. The new owner, Tish, (who used to own the Rose Garden Thai Restaurant) is great and flexible. You can eat in the restaurant, or she will run something up for you to eat in your room. She once shared her own home-cooked meal with me when I arrived late. It is close enough to go for a run/walk around the Macquarie river path in the morning before court and just across the road from RSL Gym and swimming pool. Look up when you walk into the Café part and check out the interesting light fittings arrangement.'

Rose Garden for Thai

Monkey Bar for drinks (very clean, good food)

For the Sydney lawyers who want to get a bit 'country', trying a meat pie from the Village Bakery is a must - not as great as the pies from Nyngan (the best in the State!) though.

Apart from going out for food, or going to the local cinema (be warned, it's not quite Dendy cinemas), there really isn't much else to do in Dubbo. Well, maybe visit the zoo if you happen to be staying the weekend (it's actually quite cool, and I love the fact that one can get about the zoo without actually having to leave the confine of one's car) - the free alternative of course involves jumping in a rented car, going for a drive, and counting all the carcases on the side of the road. Many times after a half hour journey, the number can get to double digits. Or maybe a visit to the Old Dubbo Goal - don't forget to duck; people were very short back then!

And lastly, at night, don’t forget to stick your head out of the motel window, or better still, drive out of town in any direction for about 5 minutes (don’t forget your Navman), lie on the bonnet of your car and look up at the sky. One thing that Dubbo has that Sydney never will (apart from the fresh air), are views of millions of stars! To help us put things into perspective. Absolutely magical!

Hope these suggestions help."



Our Forbes correspondent, Sara Crane, of the ALS reports:

Forbes Accommodation

Best Western Forbes Victoria Inn, Sherriff Street, Forbes (telephone 6851 2233) $120 a night, colour tv, lounge, balcony.

The Comfort Inn on Templar Street is also not bad.

Pub accommodation

The Vandenberg Hotel: Court Street $35- TV, comfortable king single beds, unfortunately shared bathroom- however the hotel is usually empty and you will have bathroom to self.

Forbes Food and Drink

The Forbes Inn: Excellent pub meals- frequented by an older crowd- well staffed.

I would recommend drinking at the Vandenberg or Forbes Inn for solicitors.



Our Goulburn correspondent writes:


Post House Hotel.
Probably the best hotel in town. Rooms are $110 per night and there is a very decent restaurant attached.
A short drive or long walk from the court house
1 Lagoon Street Goulburn Nsw 2580
(02) 4821 5666

Alpine Heritage Hotel
3 min walk court house and cheap as chips at $70 for a deluxe room (if you ask for a court discount).
248 Sloane Street Goulburn NSW 2580
(02) 4821 2930

Eat and drink

Tattersalls Hotel
DIY grill with fantastic salad bar and great deals - $10 on a Tuesday for a scotch fillet and all you can eat salad. Not bad for a beer either
76 Auburn Street
Goulburn NSW 2580

Astor Hotel
Recently renovated (2010). Opposite Tattersalls. Best place for a meal and a few bevvies.
Avoid the accommodation
93 Auburn Street
Goulburn NSW 2580
(02)4821 1155

Fireside Inn
Best restaurant in town. French stye cuisine. Opposite the courthouse across the park.
23 Market Street
Goulburn NSW 2580
(02) 4821 2727

Post House Hotel restaurant
Very good. See above

Paragon Cafe
This Goulburn institution has seen better days. The menu is as long as your arm but IMO nothing quite does it. Big portions though.
174 Auburn Street
Goulburn NSW 2580
(02) 4821 3566

Bryant's Pies
The name doesn't say it all - great little cafe
170 Auburn Street
Goulburn NSW 2580
(02) 4821 2561

Roses Cafe
A touch pricey but just lovely and right next to the court house
10 Montague Street
Goulburn NSW 2580
(02) 4822 2248 "

Goulburn Restaurants

The stand-out restaurant is the quirky Rimbolin Restaurant ( 380 Auburn Street Goulburn, telephone 48 21 7633). It is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, and dinner Thursday to Saturday.


Lismore Accommodation

If you have access to a car, you are probably better off staying at Byron Bay. If you don't have access to a car, the Wilson Motel (119 Ballina Street Lismore, telephone 66 22 3383) is nice, although it is a bit of a walk from court.

Lismore Coffee
For a quick cup of coffee at morning tea, or before court, down the hill away from the river from the court house is the 29a Cafe in Keen Street.

Lismore Pubs

Lismore has many pubs. The locals favour Mary Gilhooleys, an Irish theme pub at the corner of Keen Street and Woodlark Street (telephone 66 22 2924).

Lismore Restaurants

The best restaurant in Lismore is said to be Paupiettes at 56 Ballina Street (BYO, telephone 66 21 6135). It is close to the Wilsons Motel, as is the Bangkok Lismore Restaurant (44 Ballina Street, telephone 66 21 33 75), a fully licensed restaurant, which has a lovely balcony to dine on during warm Lismore evenings. Around the corner from the court house (heading towards the river) is Hector's Place (34 Molesworth Street, telephone 66 22 7898), which has light Italian meals and views of the river.


Getting to East Maitland

This is not an item of information usually provided on this page but it is included because it is so sensible and useful. Michelle Swift reports:

'My other favourite East Maitland tip is the XPT. It leaves Central at 7.15am and gets in to Maitland Station at 9.59. If you can get someone to pick you and and permission to be about 10 mins late – and on a list day, no-one will notice anyway – this is a great way to get to court. On misty overcast days, I have felt a little Agatha Christie getting on at Central, with the rollerbag and scarf blowing in the breeze, getting into the First Class carriage. It is all very civilised, and, unless it it school holidays there is lots of space to work and prep for court. It certainly beats an evil and stressful morning car trip out of Sydney. The only problem is that you have to get off just before they serve Devonshire morning tea, and that feels a little unfair. BYO coffee though. I have not yet caught the return trip, but the timetables show that an XPT comes back through just after lunch break and at about 4.30. '

East Maitland Accommodation

I think the only place to stay at East Maitland is the beautiful Old St George and Dragon Guest house, at 50 Melbourne Street, East Maitland (telephone (02) 49 34 6080). It is beautifully done out and though it does not have many of what I normally regard as minimum requirements (telephone, tv, mini bar) you will have a memorable stay there.

Interesting feature: fantastic breakfast, and a great restaurant next door (see below).

East Maitland Dining

Next door to the Old St George and Dragon guest house is the restaurant of the same name (48 Melbourne Street East Maitland, telephone (02) 49 33 7272). Regrettably only open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, it is far and away the best restaurant in the area.

East Maitland Coffee

Michelle Swift recommends the Blackbird Bakery. She says

Very little by way of coffee and sandwiches near the court, but a quick car trip from court will take you to Slices Deli, at 110 High Street East Maitland, where they make good coffee.

East Maitland Pubs

It is hard to go past the Hunter River Hotel (10 Melbourne Street East Maitland), a modern pub with a very popular dining room.



More Accommodation

Artesian Spa Motor Inn

Newell Highway, Moree (02) 6752 2466

Interesting feature: artesian thermal spa.



Our Narrabri correspondent, Lisa Stone, reports as follows:

'I can recommend the Mid Town Inn. This motel may not have a mini bar, however the pub is only ten doors up the road. The hosts were warm and welcoming, and rang to see if I was okay when I was a little late. The room was lovely and, despite being in the middle of town, it was a quiet place to work. The rates are very reasonable, and it is directly opposite both the courthouse and police station.

There is the requisite country Chinese restaurant, the An Lee, that was very good, and you can get a decent coffee at the Bakery.'


Our correspondent Duncan Berents writes 'Nowra is much like Bega. If possible just get out of town.' he recommends staying at Huskinsson and Vincentia. He also writes that his personal favourite is Lilly's at Hyams Beach.



Orange Restaurants

Our Orange correspondent, Julian Trebeck, writes:

"The food scene in Orange is thriving and there is lots of choice, even for those surviving only on a fee from Legal Aid.

For breakfast and lunch there are plenty of good cafes within 200 metres of the Court House, mainly on Summer Street and the arcades running off it. You can reasonably expect an acceptable coffee in most cafes in Orange.

Finding an affordable evening meal is harder, but there are multiple options in the CBD. If you follow the traditional path, start with a drink in one of the nearby hotels. Two options are obvious. The Hotel Orange, ( 324 Summer Street) serves good bar food, and also houses the aptly-named Arancina restaurant (antipasti around $15, prima around $25, secondi high $20’s, but pizza for around $15). The other pub option is the elegant Metropolitan Hotel ( ,107 Byng Street). It boasts the Balcony Restaurant on the upstairs verandah ($17/$25ish). There are other hotels, but I haven’t been to them. Another well-trodden route is to start with a drink at the Union Bank Wine Bar, Cnr Byng and Sale Streets (entrance on Sale), and stay for a platter or a light meal.

Fine dining in Orange would be affordable on legal aid rates only after a long trial when you have been too busy to eat, or if lashing out in celebration of a good win. But if you leave Orange without trying one of the good restaurants, you’d be the poorer for it (except financially!). Lolli Redini, ( 48 Sale Street, 6361 7748, open for dinner from Tuesday – Saturday, and lunch on Fridays), sets the standard. Two courses $68; three $85. In town also there is Bistro Ceello ( 179 Anson St, 63 611179, Wed – Sat dinner; Friday lunch). Dishes there are $22/$35.

A short drive out of Orange are a number of restaurants set in picturesque countryside. Racine Restaurant is at La Colline vineyard, ( 42 Lake Canobolas Road Nashdale, 6365 3275 lunch Friday, Saturday and Sundays; dinner: Thurs-Sat) Three courses for $75. Down the road in the Borrodell Vineyard is Sister’s Rock ( 298 Lake Canobolas Road, 6365 3128 lunch: Friday, Saturday & Sunday; dinner: Friday & Saturday) - 2 courses $58; three courses $69. Further along the Towac Valley, 10 ks out of Orange, there is“Fiorini's Ristorante Italiano”, 35 Canobolas Rd, 6365 3863, open only on Friday nights and weekends. It seemed promising on a brief visit and the calamari entrée was delicious. There is also Tonic not far away at Millthorpe ( 30 Victoria Street, 6366 3811 brunch and lunch Saturday – Sunday; dinner Thursday – Saturday). The dish prices are not on their website but are similar to their competitors’.

I have many reports of other reputedly good cafes and restaurants, both in town and in the surrounding vineyards, but I’ve not been to them. Report in if you find one! "


Duncan Berents reports 'Given Queanbeyan is only 10 minutes drive from Kingston and Manuka in Canberra it is best to avoid staying in Queanbeyan.

'The best coffee is at 4th Seed (227 Crawford Street). It is a short walk from the court.

'4th Seed is next door to the Royal Hotel which does pretty good pub food and is no longer the quasi organised street brawl that it once was'.


Tamworth Accommodation

The Quality Hotel Powerhouse

New England Highway, Tamworth, 6766 7000

Too far to walk from the courthouse, but probably the best hotel in town, and has a pool and a pretty decent restaurant. Not cheap, but round about the legal aid daily daily rate.

City Sider Motor Inn

237 Marius Street Tamworth (02) 6766 4777

Interesting feature: in-house country music pay tv.

Tamworth Restaurants

Inland Cafe

407 Peel Street Tamworth (02) 6761 2882

Truly lovely food, with a very Sydney feel. Everywhere else in Tamworth pales in comparison with this place. Regrettably only open in the evening Thursday to Sunday. Thursday night is jazz night.


Duncan Berents stays at the Wagga Townhouse at 70 Morgan Street. He writes 'I stay thee because the desks in the room are actually big enough to work on. It has a side benefitthat you room comes with free entry during the term of your stay to the pool and gym next door which in the middle of a regional summer can be a real bonus.'

Duncan Berents recommends the Trail Street Coffee Shop at 34 Trail Street 'which functions as effectively a drive through service on the way to court' and the Blessed Bean at 10 Best Street.

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