Marking the fastest period of growth in the hospitality empire’s history, Merivale is gearing up for a massive few months, with eight new venues preparing to open their doors.

Openings will include the Newport Arms Hotel, which the group acquired in March; the Queen Victoria Hotel in Sydney’s inner west; the Paddington Arms Hotel; and a wine bar on King Street.

Merivale will also relaunch its ivy Pool Club with a new menu to match its “fresh Italian look.”

Justin Hemmes, Merivale CEO, said “This intense period of Merivale’s growth is such an exhilarating time for the group. It’s the excitement of diversity and a real need to feed the increasing appetites of Sydney siders for interesting, quality and family friendly offerings that’s driving much of our evolution."

In a recent interview with SMH, Hemmes said the company’s focus has shifted away from clubs and towards food and beverage, partly because of the impact the lockout laws have had on the city’s night-time economy.

"We were very club-heavy and a lot of the business was reliant on the night-time economy. The night-time economy is finished. It is destroyed. It is all over, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

"Also, I'm getting old. I don't go to clubs. This is a prime example of how the business shifts with my age,” he said.

Upcoming launches include:

  1. J&M (October 2015) – An intimate whisky bar on Level 3 of the Angel Hotel. J&M will first launch as a Chivas Regal showcase, bringing to life the blended flavour notes of Chivas 18 to create a unique, sensory whisky experience in Sydney’s CBD.
  2. The Paddington (November 2015) – The kitchen will be led by Ben Greeno, formerly of Momofuku Seiobo. He will be roasting everything from chicken, whole stuffed fish, lamb rump and beef through to Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac. Greeno’s vision is to bring fun to his pub menu, with a focus on dishes that can be shared amongst friends. The Paddington will also be home to an experience-led cocktail bar, led by Palmer & Co.’s Sam Egerton.
  3. Chicken Shop (late 2015) – Greeno will launch a chicken shop in the small shopfront next to The Paddington, serving take-away only rotisserie chicken, salads and sandwiches. 
  4. Queen Victoria Hotel (January 2016) – The property will be re-launched in January, with a kitchen spearheaded by Christopher Hogarth and Patrick Friesen of Manly’s Papi Chulo, and former Mr. Wong dim sum master, Eric Koh. They will be delivering a Cantonese-style menu of Hong Kong classics with traditionally prepared BBQ meats and seafood.
  5. Newport Arms (January/February 2016) – The first stage of the redevelopment will open in January-February 2016 with a new food and drink concept, led by newly-appointed executive chef Sebastien Lataud. With over 15 years' Michelin and hatted restaurant experience, Lataud will curate a range of food stalls, alongside ‘Vinnie’s Pizzeria’, serving authentic wood-fired creations by Merivale’s pizza maestro, Vincenzo Biondini. The existing sunset bar will be renovated, along with the addition of a new cocktail bar. Stages two and three will be revealed in 2016.
  6. Fred’s (February 2016) – A new restaurant concept at 380 Oxford Street, led by Danielle Alvarez (Chez Panisse and the Napa Valley’s three-Michelin-starred French Laundry). Fred’s is shaped by Alvarez's passionate food philosophy – elevating already perfect produce using old-world techniques such as cooking with a wood-fired hearth and oven. Since arriving in Sydney, Alvarez has forged relationships with organic farmers, including two based in the Blue Mountains who specialise in heirloom vegetables, and in the Hawkesbury. Alvarez’s hands-on approach extends to making her own bread, butter, pasta and charcuterie. In keeping with Alvarez’s philosophy, the 120-strong wine list, curated by the award-winning Adrian Filiuta, will focus on small-batch wines and feature an extensive ‘wine by the glass’ list that will change daily.
  7. Sussex 1854 (February 2016) – The basement of Fred’s will be home to a prohibition style tapas bar and eatery with seasonally-led cocktails that echo Alvarez’s focus on enhancing quality ingredients.
  8. Wine bar, King Street (February 2016) – Currently home to the Work in Progress pop-up bar, 50 King Street will be transformed into a still-to-be-named European wine bar, offering small bites and sharing plates to complement an extensive wine list curated by Franck Moreau.


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