Mary’s hits Circular Quay

30 April, 2019 by
Madeline Woolway

Mary’s Group are continuing their expansion with the launch of Mary’s Circular Quay, which will open up shop tomorrow.

It’s the latest venue from the Sydney-based hospitality group, which will relaunch live music venue The Basement, dubbed Mary’s Underground, in May.

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Mary’s CQ is located on Macquarie Place above Mary’s Underground, with the venues linked by staircase.

“Mary’s Circular Quay is the first bite in our re-imagining of the old Basement,” says Mary’s co-founder Jake Smyth. “Mary’s CQ is a celebration of all things Mary’s — it’s loud, fun, fast-paced, generous and designed to create joy and hangovers via delicious food and killer drinks.”

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The menu will offer Mary’s signature dishes including burgers, beers and fried chicken dished up to the beat of raucous tunes and delivered via boisterous service.

Reticent to roll out cookie-cutter venues, the group isn’t resting on their laurels with the latest iteration of Mary’s. The Circular Quay site will offer up vegan variations of menu favourites — fried chicken will be fried cauliflower and the Mary’s burger will feature a specially designed vegan patty, cheese and a tricked-out vegan Mary’s sauce.

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The vegan menu isn’t just a gimmick, though, and the team are taking the task of providing for a vegan market seriously. “This ain’t Mary’s Health Food & Salad Bar — it’s delicious plant-based food designed to make your carnivorous mates jealous,” says Smyth.

To this end, separate areas have been demarcated for preparing and cooking the two menus, including veg-only grills, fryers and cool rooms.

“Using veg-only cool rooms and cooking equipment will allow our animal-friendly friends to choose ethics without sacrificing flavour,” says Smyth.

While the popularity of Mary’s might make it seem like a ubiquitous presence in the city, the Circular Quay venue is just the second full-service Mary’s, with the original located in Newtown and a takeaway outlet in the CBD.

Like its sibling, Mary’s CQ will offer a full-service bar and plenty of seating — it’s 100 pax — but combined with The Underground, it’s part of a bigger vision.

“We’re pushing the conversation around Mary’s into the world of the restaurant,” Smyth told Hospitality ahead of the opening.

“[We’re] taking our experience with The Lansdowne and live music and smashing the two things together. It’s the perfect example of how we’re excited to be back having the conversation around Mary’s. The upstairs venue will be pumping fried chicken, burgers and booze, but downstairs, we want to push that conversation. We want to do something different.”

Co-owner Kenny Graham says the group have taken the same approach to reinvigorating The Basement as they did with The Unicorn Hotel and The Lansdowne Hotel. “It’s about respect to the heritage of the building,” he says.

Smyth echoes this sentiment. “There was no way were going to turn The Underground, the actual basement, into a f**king burger joint,” says Smyth. “What a sign of disrespect for that venue. That’s why we’re elevating the food and bringing new blood and vision to the music program.”

Further details about The Underground to come.

Read more about Mary’s Group and their mission to revive Sydney’s nightlife in Hospitality’s April issue.