By Clyde Mooney, PubTIC
MERIVALE BRINGS FASHION & STYLE TO NEW WHISKY BAR
Justin Hemmes’ newest addition to the Merivale empire threw open its’ doors last week in the shape of a first class whisky bar and tribute to the group’s fashion roots.
Swathed in everything imaginable to enhance a whisky experience, J&M is a tribute to the Hemmes parents, the legendary Mr John & the ingenious Merivale Hemmes, and their glamorous fashion label, House of Merivale.
Located on level two of the historic Angel Hotel, it occupies the site of one of John and Merivale’s first moves into hospitality, where the pair opened an innovative restaurant and espresso bar associated with the fashion label, House of Merivale.
J&M boasts luxurious chesterfield sofas and a long glass bar, alongside its hero feature – a specially imported drinks trolley named ‘The Sidecar’, a unique collaboration between Moore & Giles and esteemed barman Jim Meehan that weds world class bar design and traditional woodcraft.
Guests can lounge and enjoy the personal trolley service or sit by the bar to learn more about whisky from experts in the field and taste exclusive whiskies not available for purchase anywhere else in Australia.
The bar will offer a small, “nostalgic” menu, featuring small dishes to enjoy with a cocktail before or after dinner.
The launch saw J&M first showcase Chivas Regal, and stars of the ever-changing bespoke cocktail list focusing on Chivas Regal 18yo, such as the Modern Gentleman, the Popscof, and the Blood and Marie.
Merivale has confirmed that the Chivas Regal theme will be the first of many whiskies to be showcase at J&M, in the heart of Sydney’s financial district.
FUTURE ‘ROSIE’ FOR NEW SYDNEY DISTILLERY
Building upon the success of so many craft breweries, Sydney’s first distillery in over a century has opened, and already picked up two top international awards.
Intended as a distillery, attached to a trendy place to drink and learn about spirits and distillation, the Archie Rose Distillery Co. is a custom-built space in a shed in Roseberry, producing artisan vodka, gin and whiskies.
Born of a passion for the art of spirits production, founder Will Edwards told PubTIC the backyard hobby became the motivation to get off the corporate path and do what no-one else had succeeded in doing in Sydney for a century and a half.
“I took some annual leave and headed to New York for a break, and to check out some of the first distilleries since prohibition that had popped up in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas.
“After seeing their set-ups and hearing their stories, I just couldn’t figure out why no-one had started up a distillery in the city of Sydney since the mid-1800s.
“Like NYC, we have a unique history of distillation, awesome craft brewers, an incredible bar scene and people who are genuinely interested in where their food and drinks come from and how they are created.”
Edwards says he spent six months trying to find why others had failed to kick-start a distillery in Sydney, but failing to find anything he thought “an absolute roadblock” he garnered some savvy investors and committed to launching Archie Rose.
“From that point, it was an 18-month process to secure licences, equipment and staff, before launching officially in March this year.”
The premises have been designed to incorporate Edwards’ passion for the trade into something to be shared with punters, and the layout by Acme & Co brought the team acclaim at London’s recent Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, which attracted over 860 entries from more than 70 countries.
Archie Rose took home ‘Best Australia & Pacific Bar’ and the coveted ‘Best International Bar’ award.
Some of the unusual and unique features of the distillery include: steam-heated stills, three unique infusion points in the gin still, individually distilled botanicals, and the use of malted rye in the rye whisky – which will be ready to drink in three to four years.
Patrons are invited to tour the facilities, enjoy tastings and blending classes on gin and whisky, or even commission their own custom product.
“I think the thing that stands out most is our desire to share distillation and the process of making spirits with the public,” replied Edwards.
“The culmination of this can be seen in our ‘Tailored Spirits’ offering, which allows you to design your own vodka, gin or whisky – right down to your name on the label.”
Already stocked in a growing number of venues, the innovative business could expand on the consumer appeal seen in the meteoric rise of some Australian craft beer brands.
Photo: L-R: DAVE WITHERS, WILL EDWARDS, JOE DINSMOOR, NIGEL WEISBAUM
THE DARLO COUNTRY CLUB
Located in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, the space that used to house the iconic Victoria Room has been reimagined as a California-style country club.
The Darlo Country Club is the result of the continued partnership between Lobo Plantation’s Michael Hwang and Eddie Levy and The Island’s Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias. Building on the success of their winter pop-up bar, The Chalet, which was in the same space, the team have transformed the bar into a permanent high-volume cocktail bar and diner.
With cocktails designed by Julius Yates, of Lobo Plantation, the menu features “elegant classics and originals with a touch of theatre”. In terms of that theatre, Yates has focused on employing all the senses with visual stimuli through flames and smoke, as well as “intense smells” for olfactory gratification.
Highlights from the cocktail list include: The Bubbarita – a take on the margarita with bubble-gum infused tequila, Blue Curaçao, lime juice, a grape citrus foam and an orange blossom flame and The Eton Fizz – the liquid equivalent of an Eton Mess with Tanqueray, strawberry shrub, lemon juice, thyme syrup, egg white and a dash of soda.
The food menu is classic brasserie-style with a signature lobster and truffle mac and cheese, kingfish ceviche, and sliced scotch fillet with chimichurri.
The interior space has been converted to make the most of the high ceilings with an imposing six-foot high custom chandelier installed.
Drawing inspiration from actual country clubs, call buttons have been installed on the six bespoke banquettes. Additionally, there are areas for smaller groups, as well as exclusive function spaces for up to 250 guests.