Chinese chow and classy cocktails headline this Merivale suburban makeover.
Story: Christopher Holder
167 Enmore Road, Enmore
(02) 9240 3000 or www.merivale.com/queenshotel
Other Sydney operators must being getting tired of reading the headline: Merivale Does it Again.
Owning some of the more prominent late night venues in Sydney’s CBD, including The Ivy and The Establishment, Merivale boss Justin Hemmes could have easily lamented the unpopular lockout laws like everyone else. Instead, he’s activating the ’burbs, schuzzing up Paddington, the inner west, and beyond.
Until Merivale took control, the Queens Hotel in Enmore was just another working man’s beer and TAB boozer. Now it’s a genuine suburban oasis.
Food leads the charge downstairs. Completely revamped to appear as if it hasn’t changed in 100 years, the ground floor Queens Chow bistro serves some of the best Asian food in the west.
Queen Chow’s dim sum menu is captained by the revered Eric Koh, regarded as one of the greatest dim sum masters in the world. Bringing with him 30 years’ experience including tenures at Mr. Wong and Work in Progress, as well as London’s Michelin-starred Hakkasan and Yauatcha, Eric has made the artistry of dim sum his life’s work. He will be feeding Enmore’s hungry masses his famous steamed, baked and fried dumplings for lunch, dinner and late night supper.
Upstairs, things become curiouser and curiouser. The Smelly Goat cocktail bar is great fun, the perfect venue to delve down a rabbit hole of innovative takes on cocktail classics.
The expansive two-level venue has been transformed by a design team including Justin and Bettina Hemmes, Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative and stylist Amanda Talbot. With dark stained timbers, rubbed back finishes and a long timber bar with zinc top, the ground floor is made up of bar seating and leather banquettes, before it opens to a quaint kitchen courtyard shadowed by a canopy tree and staghorns. Upstairs in The Smelly Goat, fabric-lined chinoiserie walls with black timber panelling and silk wall sconces create an intimate salon feel, while the hand-carved onyx bar top, hand-painted mural (by 8 Foot Walls) and curated taxidermy bird boxes evoke a sense of 1930s glamour. With a green and off-white checkered tiled floor, the adjoining enclosed terrace is filled with colourful rattan chairs and tables and hanging pots of native orchids.
The Queens Hotel does a splendid job at whisking its patrons away to somewhere more exotic. In a cheek-by-jowl suburb, here’s a pub that provides a sense of calm sophistication. Great fun, sure, but a venue that keeps itself nice.
AUDIO: QUEENS’ ENGLISH
Justin Hemmes is renowned for his attention to the minute detail of every aspect of his venues. Audio is a particular passion for him, where he demands the best and for every patron to experience the highest quality of sound.
Martin Audio CCD6 compact loudspeakers do most of the work. They’re a primo install model with an innovative waveguide that ensures a more even spread of high frequencies — regardless of whether you’re directly under the speaker or some distance away.
Each loudspeaker is addressed by its own amp channel to maximise control and the fine-tuning of sound in the room. QSC amplification is used throughout.
Justin and his team involved the audio installers and his long-time audio confidant, Technical Audio Group’s Technical Director Anthony Russo, early, to help guarantee the best results. For example, the Martin Audio subwoofers are meticulously and entirely surreptitiously concealed in the cabinetry of the fitout.
It’s a beautiful job and provides superior results. With the density of loudspeaker coverage, no single speaker needs to be overworked, the entire system purrs effortlessly, stretching its legs just as easily when required.
Technical Audio Group (Martin Audio, QSC): (02) 9519 0900 or email@example.com