The Oaks Hotel completes significant renovation

12 December, 2019 by Brydie Allen

North Sydney’s Oaks Hotel has this week launched the final stage of its multi-million dollar redevelopment, the biggest of its kind in the Oaks’ 133 year history.

The hotel has now opened new bar and eatery Alala’s, as well as the new connected Oaks Bottle Shop and Takeaway.

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The two spaces join Taffy’s sports bar, launched in September, all part of an almost 12 month renovation process that is a tribute to the history of the Oaks and its longstanding publican family.

Alala’s garden conservatory, featuring a terrace under the shade of the 80 year old oak tree, is named after the mother of David ‘Taffy’ Thomas, who bought the Oaks Hotel in 1975.

Taffy’s son, Alala’s grandson and third generation publican Andrew Thomas, said the space was inspired by Alala’s modern and forward thinking for her time.

“We’ve always been great at catering for blokes, but we needed to expand our offering and transform this space into something a little more elegant that will cater to a more discerning crowd,” Thomas said.

“We therefore focused on details that really matter such as handcrafted cocktails, commissioned artwork, maximising the natural light within the venue and providing a visual connection to our beloved oak tree.”

Every part of the design takes the oak tree into consideration. Colour palettes influenced by the dappled sunlight of the tree meld the indoors and outdoors, doubling the terrace as a café in the mornings.

The seasonal menu also matches the soft garden feel, with picnic inspired dishes designed for sharing, as created by head chef Julian Nikiel.

Cocktails on offer are also seasonal, showcasing the best fresh ingredients for each time of year, with pomegranate, lime and cucumber highlighted flavours at the moment.

A discreet passageway connects Alala’s to the Oaks Bottle Shop and Takeaway, headed by a craft beer curator. It features a communal tasting table and will host regular tasting nights, to help customers try before they buy and explore the craft beer category.

The food portion of the takeaway concept is inspired by a 1940’s milk bar, with hot roast rolls and grab-and-go dinners on offer.

Thomas previously described the motivation behind this and said: “Home food delivery is a big market in Neutral Bay and convenience of takeaway food in the area, so we wanted to tap into that market.”

The final openings for the trio of new spaces mark the end of the Oaks Hotel redevelopment under the Thomas Group Hotels portfolio.