Determined to make its mark on Canberra’s entertainment, food and beverage scene, a new and exciting café that ticks all the boxes is about to fling its doors open in the Inner North, and we have no doubt that the city will welcome it with open arms!

Pick Up Stix Kitchen & Bar is nearing completion and set to bring a unique experience that’s part café and part sports bar into a sporting arena environment – the National Hockey Centre.

“The space is shaping up nicely and looks fantastic. It’s not out-of-the-way and conveniently within walking distance from suburbs like Lyneham, Kaleen and O’Connor,” Pick Up Stix manager Dan Conroy explains.

“You get the best of both worlds. Pick Up Stix will encompass a casual sports bar feel at night but also encapsulate a bustling café culture in a different setting, but on a large scale because of the premises.”

As the mastermind of The Knox Made in Watson café, Dan brings plenty of hospitality experience which he is excited to inject in this new venture.

“We have also designed the space to be versatile for catering, conferences and functions. There will be a 170-seat space with retractable walls to provide the option of an even bigger space and seamless indoor and outdoor flow,” he adds.

“It’s designed in a way so you aren’t squished in, but feel a part of the crowd and the buzz.”

Open 8am to late, seven days a week with all-day breakfast on weekends, we’re confident that the space will become a local watering hole for many!

“The great thing about our location is that we’re in the heart of Lyneham’s sporting precinct – social and amateur sports, the Next Gen Health and Lifestyle Club, there’s a child care coming soon, along with a CrossFit-style gym and multisport shop,” Dan says.

“These businesses all complement each other. You can drop in for a smoothie or coffee after a gym session, or you can come for a pre/post Raiders or Brumbies game beer with GIO Stadium just up the road.”

The menu will echo local produce and healthy alternatives and will offer the classic ‘pub food’ dishes we’ve all come to know and love, but with a Pick Up Stix signature twist.

“Eating healthy is a passion of mine, so I will be implementing that theme across the menu as much as possible, and as much as customers will let me,” Dan laughs.

“We will have standard ‘schnitties’ and such because we’re equally a sports entertainment destination, but it’s also about having a healthy alternative – not forcing that on people but having the option there for them to try.

“We don’t want to be doing the same thing as every pub. Our chefs are going to do as much as possible in-house, bringing fresh produce in from local suppliers and letting the ingredients do all the talking.”

Coffee lovers will be pleased to know that Pick Up Stix will be serving freshly brewed cups of Red Brick Espresso coffee, while its selection of beers and wines will also feature local labels, with craft beers on tap rotation. They guys are also looking at doing they’re own vegetable and herb garden on the grounds.

So how did it all begin? A hockey player by heart, Dan has been in the game for 25 years and played in the National Hockey Centre for 20 of those years. A chef by trade and being a naturally health conscious person, Dan identified that there was no option to dine nearby other than the conventional canteen. So when the space and opportunity came about he didn’t hesitate to put his hand up for the job!

“It’s strange, when you think about it, sporting arenas don’t have healthy options to eat at while you’re there. Ironic right? High-performance athletes in the area don’t have a healthy option to eat in close proximity to where they train. These athletes want to eat healthy but they don’t have the option to,” he says.

“Pick Up Stix is filling that void and will be the bridge between the health-conscious sporting community and food that’s actually good for you.”

Pick Up Stix is expected to open within the next few weeks – just in time for the hockey season! Dan and the team are excited to welcome a wave of soon-to-be regulars to the new dining and bar experience from the sporting community, sport enthusiasts, spectators, food and coffee lovers and beyond. It’s truly set to be a venue for everyone.