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Introducing Ancora, the newest waterside venue on the Tweed Coast

When you combine a powerhouse team with a picturesque waterfront location, you can confidently expect the end result to be nothing short of spectacular. Introducing the newest kid on the block set to shake up the Tweed Coast wedding scene: Ancora.


Featuring effortlessly cool, Mediterranean-inspired interiors, a mouth-watering menu filled with authentic Greek influences, and a passionate team dedicated to creating a space that makes the local community proud, it’s safe to say Ancora will soon be at the top of the radar for engaged couples dreaming of a Tweed Coast wedding with a difference.


With Ancora officially opening its whitewashed doors to the public on Sunday 5 November for their very first Open Day, we wanted to give you a little taste of Tweed Coast’s newest bespoke venue and the incredibly dedicated individuals behind this exciting venture.


Brides and grooms-to-be: keep reading, because this is a space that firmly belongs on your ‘must-visit’ list.


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Ancora is the newest venture from well-known hospitality gurus Mark and Lia Wilson together with Lee Middendorf. The sheer credibility of this passionate trio should be enough to peak your interest – these guys are the driving force behind some of the leading restaurants on the Tweed Coast; from Thai hot-spot Spice Den (now sold) to local Italian favourite Osteria in Casuarina, as well as recently opened Greek eatery, Taverna in Kingscliff. And with Taverna currently holding the coveted number one position on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say this team know a thing or two about creating memorable experiences through good food, great wine and unparalleled service.


So, why Ancora? The recently renovated space is ideally situated on Wharf Street overlooking the Terranora Inlet. And according to Mark, it all came down to this unique location on the Tweed River.


“It had been on the radar for a little while, and with its amazing location and great bones, we saw a lot of potential” he explains. “There is also a little buzz starting to flow from Kirra down through to Cooly and North Tweed. We feel that the time is right to step into that market”.


After seeing the space first-hand, we’d have to agree wholeheartedly. The interior fit-out and design is reminiscent of the Mediterranean beach clubs you’d find dotted down the European coastline, with the kind of easy ambience you can’t help but soak up in its entirety.


With hardwood floors sanded back to a pale timber, crisp white-panelled walls and an incredible arched ceiling, the space is airy, inviting and filled with natural light. Wraparound glass doors and huge windows open directly onto an outdoor deck lined with rustic terracotta pots, allowing the uninterrupted waterfront views to filter in at every angle. It’s the kind of cosy interior that leaves you feeling completely relaxed, as you take in the fresh open air and natural surroundings.


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Following the immense popularity of Taverna, it was a no-brainer for the Ancora team to continue drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean islands when it came to the overall design of the space.


“Lia and I were engaged and later married in the Greek Islands, as Lia’s family descends from the region. We always had it in our minds to recapture what we experienced back there, and Taverna was a testament to that” says Mark. “With the locals sharing our enthusiasm and passion, Ancora was born. A place where we could share the Taverna-style experience with people celebrating the most special day of their lives”


One of our favourite elements of the space, and an essential component of any great wedding – the bar. With an exposed white brick facade and luxurious marble top, the Ancora bar takes pride of place built into the venue underneath woven basket lights, sure to be the feature of many Insta-snaps at future events.


It’s easy to imagine the buzzing atmosphere inside Ancora for weddings to come – guests mingling, cocktails in hand, music humming happily from a DJ deck and the sun setting down behind the river.


“It really is a magic spot” says Mark. “Once you’re inside, you could be anywhere with uninterrupted views across the water, fishing trawlers buzzing past and yachts moored out the front. The crisp feel and neutral colours transport you to any one of the coastal regions of the world. I just can’t wait to see people in that space experiencing a wedding like we did in Santorini.”


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With food and drink being such an impactful element of any wedding, we asked Mark what guests could expect from the menu at Ancora. If you’ve been lucky enough to experience Lia’s Greek-inspired dishes at Taverna, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Ancora team will be drawing inspiration from this authentic, share-style kind of dining.


“Being on the water and having such amazing produce available, we will have a big focus on seafood and also regional classics like slow-cooked lamb. Our development at Taverna will drive the Ancora menus. One thing is for sure though – Octopus will be a specialty!” says Mark.


Conveniently located just five minutes from the Coolangatta airport with plenty of accommodation options nearby, the Ancora team hope to become a destination venue too, with guests travelling from all over the world to meet with long-time friends and share good food and wine while making unforgettable memories.


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Wedding planning not on the horizon? No problems – Ancora will also be operating a small cafe onsite five days a week, for locals to come and enjoy the riverfront location for themselves. And if that’s not enough to add Ancora to your must-visit list ASAP, this passionate team are also on a mission to utilise their new establishment as a way to support the local Tweed community.


“We see this as a huge opportunity. The employment and small business opportunities that will flow off the back of this project cannot be understated. We are only as good as our staff, and we value the need for the community to be fully engaged.” explains Mark, who is also committed to using Ancora as an outlet to empower women in business, as well as disadvantaged minorities.


“We are currently bringing together an all-female committee from our local community that have a broad range of experiences to consult on our businesses, and to empower women in our own organisation to be great leaders. We also have a strong support program for disadvantaged people and strive to set the benchmark in our approach to community success”


It’s a vision like this that truly showcases the heart and soul behind Ancora, and we can’t wait to see how the team make their mark on not only the thriving Tweed Coast wedding and event scene, but also the local community.


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So with a luxe interior fit-out to rival the most prestigious Mediterranean beach clubs, a drool-worthy menu filled with authentic Greek cuisine, and a passionate, community-driven team running the show, there’s just no good reason not to pencil the 5th November firmly into your calendar to check out this incredible space in person.


Brides and grooms-to-be, wedding industry professionals, Tweed Coast locals – you’d be crazy not to see what all of the well-deserved hype is about with this brand new waterfront venue. Head over to the Ancora Open Day Facebook event here to RSVP, and get yourself acquainted with the Ancora Weddings website and Instagram feed, too. We’re expecting some pretty amazing things from this very impressive team.


All images above from a recent styled shoot featuring the below talented Casuarina Weddings suppliers:


Photographer – Figtree Wedding Photography 

Videography – Roost Film Co

Style and Hire – Hampton Event Hire

Florist – Alstonville Florist 

Dress and Suit – When Freddie met Lilly 

Cake – The Cake That Ate Paris 

Hair – Foxs Lane Styling 

Makeup – The Luxe Beauty Co 

Models – One Life Models 

Lighting – Elyssium Lighting

Stationery – KB Lettering

Celebrant – Benjamin Carlyle 

Content Editor – Casuarina Weddings 

Venue – Ancora 

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2 thoughts on “Introducing Ancora, the newest waterside venue on the Tweed Coast

  1. Jeneen McLeod says:

    We are Tweed Heads locals and big fans of Taverna…so we’re keen to try out the new cafe at Ancora. When will that be open, and which days of the week?

    1. Hi Jeneen, We are big Taverna fans also! We are unsure of the time for Ancora opening… I know there’s a contact email address on the door on the building (sorry, I’m not sure what that is) which might be your best bet! We can’t wait to check it out too!

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