Located at North Head Sanctuary – a scenic coastal parkland and former defence site on Manly’s peninsula – the Former Sergeants’ Mess (building 16) is positioned to become the region’s next premier restaurant and/or function space.

Venue setting and history

The venue dates to 1935 and is one of the charming art deco buildings that – together with distinctive red gravel parade ground – define North Head Sanctuary’s iconic Barracks Precinct. In addition to occupying a significant place in Australia’s military history, the location is a source of inspiration for locals and visitors alike due to its native flora and fauna, scenic tracks and breathtaking outlooks encompassing Sydney Harbour and the Pacific Ocean.

Character and features

With a net lettable area of 582.40m², the Former Sergeants’ Mess is suitable for events and/or a restaurant, with a dining capacity of 180 guests seated or 275 standing (cocktail). Further, the venue benefits from a commanding position overlooking the Parade Ground, modern amenities, toilet facilities, easy access to nearby parking and a formal interior that echoes with the whispers of a bygone era.

Key features include a versatile double function space, a functional commercial kitchen and a modern ante room as well as original features – such as a wooden bar, timber floors and joinery – that are rich in character and have borne witness to the merriment of those who once served here.

Optional outdoor areas

Meanwhile, a picturesque outdoor area, on the venue’s doorstep, is available for non-exclusive use and is ideal for small gatherings, intimate ceremonies and pre-event drinks. There is also an opportunity for the successful applicant to expand their services and, under a licence agreement, offer ceremonies at nearby sanctuary lawn. A short walk from the Former Sergeants’ Mess, the lawn offers a panoramic view of Sydney Harbour framed by pristine coastal bushland – a romantic, Instagram-worthy backdrop for an exchange of vows.

Scope for modifications

The Former Sergeants’ Mess is ready to use in its current condition and configuration; however, applicants are encouraged to explore potential modifications to enhance the venue’s functionality. Proposals should include preliminary scope of works, fit-out designs and ideas, with consideration given to the heritage sensitivities of the Former Sergeants’ Mess, the design of neighbouring buildings, and the Harbour Trust’s management plan for North Head Sanctuary.

Timing and further information

Submissions for this EOI leasing campaign close 5pm AEDT on 25 March 2024.

To view the information memorandum, visit the Harbour Trust’s website.

To arrange an inspection, contact Natasha Morran (Leasing Executive, Harbour Trust) on 0448 110 016 or email harbour.trustleasing@harbourtrust.gov.au.

For further details, and to make a submission, visit the AusTender website.