Applejack Hospitality is continuing its expansion in Sydney, acquiring Steel Bar and Grill in the CBD.

Located across from Wynyard station, the venue was opened 10 years ago by Pony Group and chef Damian Heads, before restaurateur David Tracey took over ownership in 2013.

Applejack co-owner Ben Carroll says a CBD venue has been in the works for some time.

“We’ve been looking at the city on and off for the last three years and in that time we’ve looked at probably 50 different sites,” Carroll told Hospitality.

The group was drawn to Steel Bar and Grill ultimately for its size – around 200 seats – and location.

“It has a lot of outdoor space, it’s very open and bright,” says Carroll. “Having the street presence and being on a corner really appealed to us – a lot of our venues have that alfresco vibe to them.”

Applejack plan to initially run the venue as is, before renovating and relaunching the venue in the next 12 months.

“We definitely want to do a renovation here, which would include a full gutting of the restaurant and a new concept, new name and everything that goes along with that,” Carroll told Hospitality.

“We want to understand the market and the precinct as well as we can before we finalise our designs. We are starting to work on designs, however we want to finalise everything first and make sure we do it once and we do it properly, but ideally we’ll be renovating in the next 12 months.”

Carroll confirms the current 50 staff members at Steel Bar and Grill will join Applejack and remain at the venue.

Steel Bar and Grill joins Applejack’s portfolio of five Sydney venues, including SoCal, The Butler, Della Hyde, The Botanist and Endeavour Tap Rooms.

The acquisition is part of a refocused strategy for the group, who recently sold their first venue, Bondi Hardware, which opened in 2011.

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