Sailors Thai to close its doors
Sailors Thai will close by early September 2016, after more than 20 years of service.
Property NSW, formerly known as the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, accepted an offer from another restaurant to take over the lease.
“It’s all about the dollar, and the new [Property NSW] edict is that tenancies in The Rocks will only be for five years. So every five years, the leases go up for renewal and it goes to a blind tender process,” said Jason Tait, owner of Sailors Thai.
“So we wrote down a dollar figure and somebody else wrote down a dollar figure. Their figure could have been between one dollar and one million dollars more than ours; we have no way of knowing.
“There’s no consideration, it’s just whichever bid was the highest. There’s no consideration of community or precinct, it all seems to come down to dollar value.
“We would have happily played balled if we’d been given the opportunity,” Tait told Hospitality.
While Tait wasn’t planning to shut Sailors Thai, at the moment there are no certain plans regarding the restaurant’s future.
“There aren’t too many things around, and there’s no site in the rocks for us that we can identify, so we’ll have to look further afield, but then we could lose a bit of who we are. This is where we’ve been for 20 years, so to move and just set up some place else, it becomes a bit more commercial. Maybe something will come up but at this stage it doesn’t look like it,” he said.
There’s no confirmation as to who will be taking over the site, although there are rumours Darling Harbour’s Thaifoon is moving in.
With Sailors Thai’s last service slated for late August, Tait said, “We’ve had an outpouring of well-wishers on Facebook – it’s been lovely – and lots of bookings from people wanting to come in one last time, which is nice and also sad at the same time.”
Sailors Thai is the latest high profile Sydney restaurant to close in the face of lease negotiations.