ARK Group launches next generation Irish pub
Scarborough’s esplanade in Western Australia has a new venue which its operators, ARK Group, are describing as the next generation of Irish pub.
ARKS’s group operations manager and Dublin native, Lee Behan, said The Galway Hooker is a different Irish pub to what we’re used to in Australia, thanks to its authentic combination of traditional and modern.
“The venue is truly authentic in looks, but with the offerings the pub aims to showcase the latest emerging trends in Ireland’s popular food and beverage industry while still upholding the world-renowned Irish hospitality through exceptional customer service and top notch food and beverage,” Behan said.
Officially opening its doors last month, the project has been years in the making, thanks to the fine attention to detail that went into all the distinctive elements of the pub.
“The Galway Hooker pub was built, disassembled and transported from Ireland. We used an architect in Dublin who specialises in Irish pubs and they designed and built the pub over there using genuine Irish materials, before shipping the disassembled pieces via container to Perth,” Behan said.
When the pieces arrived in Australia, it was then up to Perth based-builders Utopia Construction to reassemble and fit out the pub with all its elements, including one very special symbol of it’s namesake.
Behan said: “The story of the name (and the premise of the pub) starts in the 19th century with a fisherman’s boat iconic to Galway Bay for ‘hook and line fishing’. It was made for the shallow waters and they were prone to sinking on the windy shores of Ireland’s West coast.
“We saw a lot of similarities between the wild west coast of Galway Bay and Scarborough’s windy west coast that complemented the venue’s story. As well as this, Galway City pubs are famous for their live music and delicious pub fare, so we set out to pay tribute to this a little. If you’re in the venue you’ll see we have an authentic Galway Hooker boat right in the centre that guests can have a drink at.”
Authenticity is also built through the design of the rest of the pub, with cosy nooks and snugs, warm red and yellow tones, and lots of wood. The walls are lined with genuine prints and signage from Ireland and shows old whisky branding, retro alcohol adverts and Irish memorabilia.
“Using a mix of design, hardware and branding, we’ve tried to carry the brand story throughout the pub; whether it’s in the whiskey map designed in our drinks list, the Galway fisherman who’s painted over the men’s toilets or the 3D printed replica of the famous Guinness Toucan who balances our food menu on his beak,” Behan said.
This menu, of course, heroes Guinness. The pub’s relationship with Guinness goes beyond what we’ve come to expect from similar venues, thanks to ARK Group’s strong partnership with the brand.
Guinness features heavily on both the food and drink offering, with staff specially trained on the beer’s background and perfect pour by Guinness brand ambassador, Domhnall Marnell.
Before it opened, Marnell looked over all of The Galway Hooker’s systems to give them the Guinness seal of approval.
Behan said a lot of time and effort went into these systems, including a Guinness-only coolroom which he said: “Allows us to play around with temperatures and pressures to get the best results.”
“We also have created a Guinness glass that is specific to the venue and dedicated glasswasher that is for Guinness glasses only.”
Rounding out the offering is a range of Irish spirit-based cocktails and traditional Irish pub food. Behan said highlights of the food and drink menus by executive chef Matt Powell and group bar manager James Connolly respectively, include crowd favourite Beef and Guinness pie and “the best Irish coffee he’s ever drank”.
The Galway Hooker is the second Irish pub in ARK Group’s portfolio, coming after city-based Durty Nelly’s. The popularity of Durty Nelly’s, the first of its kind in Perth, helped inspire the group to bring the same level of Irish hospitality to the beach community too.