Bar barons bring British tavern to Sydney
By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Mikey Enright and Julian Train, directors of Sydney bar group Barrelhouse Group, are launching The Duke of Clarence – a traditional British pub – in mid-November.
The Duke of Clarence will preside next to the group’s award-winning gin bar The Barber Shop in a small alleyway in Sydney’s CBD. The pub is modelled on a 19th century English tavern, and was designed in collaboration with Sara Mathews, a notable set designer from the UK, who has worked on such films as Moulin Rouge and Ned Kelly.
Enright, a Liverpudlian, is trying to bring an authentic taste of a British tavern to Sydney.
“Everyone asks me what I miss most about England, and my answer is always ‘a proper pub’. This is everything I’ve ever wanted in a pub; a real English boozer where reading the paper over a pint is as welcome as a round of extra dirty martinis. It’s going to have great tunes, perfect lighting and enough spirits to keep the most distinguished ladies and gents satisfied.”
With the help of Mathews, the team searched all over the UK finding pub items that were over 100 years old. Building materials – including floorboards from the 1850s – were sourced from pubs, churches and warehouses. The exterior of the Duke of Clarence will have the welcoming facade worthy of any British pub, with Victorian tiles, flowers hanging from the ceiling and aged timber stairs. Inside the entrance is a painting of the venue’s namesake – who became King William IV – before opening on to a 12-metre timber bar, oak panelling, stained glass, a library corner and fireplace.
The drinks selection at the Duke of Clarence will include a line-up of 500 spirits, mainly from Britain. Beer will be served from ornate beer taps sourced from England, with a focus on cask ale. A rotovap (rotary evaporator) will also be used to infuse cocktails with Victorian-era ingredients.
“The Clarence is an homage to the days gone by. But we want it to feel as fresh and forward-thinking as it is nostalgic, so the drink will very much reflect this,” stated Enright.
Pub fare will likewise be classically British, with David O’Brien (ex-Merivale) also hailing from Liverpool taking care of the menu.
Looking after the day-to-day operations is venue manager Steve McDermott, formerly publican of Statler and Waldorf in Brisbane. McDermott was also named Publican of the Year at 2016 Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA). McDermott is enjoying the move to Sydney and being involved in bringing Enright’s vision for a British pub to life.
“ [It’s] really exciting! This is such a beautiful and vibrant city with a thriving nightlife scene. I’m really chuffed to be a part of Barrelhouse group and to be involved with the Duke of Clarence.”
The Duke of Clarence is set to open on York Street in a fortnight.