posted in: Backchat, Bar, Magazine, People, Pub on April 15, 2014

Like angels dancing on your tongue.

Matt Mullins is a partner in Sand Hill Road hospitality group

A close mate of mine recently received some terrible news. As he tells it, the doctor leant in, brow furrowed, and uttered the horrible words: “I’m sorry, but you can’t drink beer. Ever. Again.”


posted in: Backchat, Industry, Local, Magazine, People on April 15, 2014

Telling Your Story: How to Stand Out

James Cooley is an account manager at PR agency, Stellar Concepts

I’ve been lucky enough to see my fair share of great venues, whether it be handling the PR for a restaurant, bar or nightclub, or attending an event. It’s a tough gig but someone has to do it.

The question remains the same for proprietors of these venues — how can I cut through the clutter when there are just so many options? Did you know Australia has one of the highest number of bars and restaurants per capita of anywhere in the world?


posted in: Backchat, Bar, Café, Hotel, Local, Lounge, Nightclub, Pub on April 15, 2014

Why your iPod doesn’t cut it.

Stuart Watters is a Director of Morph TV and consults for Nightlife Music.

Done right, an inspired selection of music can elevate the most rustic watering hole to greatness. Done wrong, a music playlist can drag the most chic digs to the depths of kitsch. Music can tie all the design elements of a venue together, while constantly morphing to suit the mood and tempo. But this adaptability is reliant on the quality and flexibility of the playlists, and just as importantly, the way they’re delivered. So the big question is: how far can you get on your own with an iPod or Streaming Service? When do you need to bring in the specialists? And what are the rewards for making that investment in your music?


posted in: Backchat, Local, People, Pub on April 8, 2014

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Happy Goblin Brewery:

Story & Image: Jen Temm

Happy Goblin Brewery is as micro as it gets. Operating out of a 90sqm shared premises in Sydney’s north, the tiny brewery produces about 500L every three weeks – that’s about 1200 bottles and a couple of kegs, or enough to supply a handful of Sydney bottle shops and restaurants.


posted in: Function Space, Local on April 8, 2014

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Lighthouse Gallery

Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray St, Sydney
(02) 9298 3777 or

Last week Sydney VIPs attended the official launch of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s newest venue – Lighthouse Gallery.

With the support of the event’s partners Decorative Events, AV1 and Laissez Faire Catering, the venue was transformed into a classically-styled lounge bar, equipped with a chocolate and cognac stand, a cocktail bar and canapés.

Increasing the museum’s portfolio of event venues to eight, Lighthouse Gallery offers a complete waterfront position, with enviable views of Sydney Harbour and resident ‘Cape Bowling Green’ lighthouse.

Available now, Lighthouse Gallery is Sydney’s newest venue, ideal for product launches, gala dinners, cocktail events and conferences.

The all-new venue is also equipped with state of the art in-house AV, exceptional, award winning cuisine from catering partner Laissez Faire and opportunities to incorporate some of the museum’s world class exhibitions, such as the current Amazing Whales – Evolution and survival, and tours into venue packages.


posted in: Global, Live Music on April 8, 2014

Using technology to transform a ‘bad’ acoustic into a beautiful and endlessly-variable one.

ASB Theatre

Aotea Centre, Auckland

Three years in development, the recently completed overhaul of Auckland’s ASB Theatre, part of the Aotea Centre, has been a long time coming.

Opened in 1990, the theatre’s original acoustic is uncompromisingly described as “bad” by Kerry Griffiths, Head of Technical Operations for The Edge, the outfit that manages Aotea Centre. And the audience area was “aesthetically pretty tired”. The theatre’s original electronically-enhanced acoustic design wasn’t popular with performers, audiences or critics; while amplified events have worked well, orchestral and operatic performances have not always been heard at their best.
Kerry notes that when the acoustic deficiencies were identified one of the possible solutions was to raise the roof — by five metres — “a very expensive option. That’s when we decided to go with Meyer Sound’s Constellation”.


posted in: Bar, Pub on April 8, 2014

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Melbourne best be prepared to hand over the title of Australia’s small bar capital. But will the new licensing laws scupper the progress?

Story: James Dampney

For decades, Sydney’s Central Business District was a place frequented predominantly by busy, suited men armed with their briefcases and wide-eyed tourists trying to find their way to the harbour.
In terms of hospitality offerings there were slim pickings to say the least, with the odd flash-in-the-pan nightclub and fine dining restaurant sprinkled among the old-school pubs.
The change in liquor licensing laws back in 2007 sparked a welcome change, with venues such as Grandma’s, Grasshopper and the Baxter Inn adding some intrigue and lustre to the often-dreary skyscrapers and bus stations.
But the level of creativity, versatility and flat-out bartending skills has reached new levels over the past 12 months.


posted in: Bar, Local, Restaurant on April 8, 2014


The Publican Group’s downtown Perth local with a South American twist.

Public House:

263 Adelaide Terrace, Perth WA
(08) 6336 9780 or

Public House is the latest venture from the trans-Nullabor juggernauts, The Publican Group. Helmed by partners Steve Garcia and John Ahern, The Publican Group has a healthy portfolio of hospitality ventures that equally favour Victoria and WA. These guys treat the Melbourne to Perth trip like most of us might a journey on the Tulla or M5 motorway.


posted in: Bar, Live Music, Local, Restaurant on April 8, 2014


Top Ibiza club and music brand finds a home in Darling Harbour.

Café del Mar

The Rooftop Terrace of Cockle Bay, 201 Sussex Street, Sydney
(02) 9267 6700 or

Story: Jen Temm

The view from the wrap-around balcony at Café del Mar may not be the glistening Mediterranean — but just wait. Proprietors Alex Daniel and John Zappia have big plans for the Australian-franchised brand that include bringing those famed beach sunsets to patrons of the new Cockle Bay venue. More on that later.


posted in: Bar, Local, Pub on March 23, 2014


Palate Hotel

279 Victoria Rd, Rydalmere NSW 2116
(02) 9680 0515 or

The Palate Hotel is the dreamchild of owner, Rod Salmon, who conceived of a casual food-focussed venue with quality and heart in the under-served area of Rydalmere in Sydney’s western suburbs. Unlike the standard issue offerings of nearby pubs and takeaways, this is a neo-industrial gem.

For locals, blue collar, white collar workers in the estates nearby and urban spoon gypsies alike, the area had no real options of interest. Part bar, café, restaurant and soon to be gaming, the Palate Hotel is a hotel licence inserted into an industrial setting with a unique and character-filled offer.