The Oaks Hotel is undergoing the biggest upgrade in its 133-year history. The $6 million re-development will see the Sydney institution launch three new venues: a quirky retro sports and games bar; a garden conservatory overlooking the iconic oak; and a craft bottle shop and takeaway joint.
Although they’ll be housed under the same roof, each venue is set to have an independent menu and beverage selection.
Rebel sports bar Taffy’s will launch in time for the Rugby World Cup in September. It’ll be equipped with retro games and pop culture features, like a Hulk Hogan novelty beer tap and a life-size cut out of Richie Benaud and the largest foosball table in NSW accommodating eight players.
The Taffy’s menu will offer rebellious takes on sports snack favourites including duck nachos with fried wontons instead of classic corn chips and Reuben sandwich spring rolls with gooey cheese and pastrami encased in pastry. Twenty craft beer taps will rotate monthly and cocktails will include tipples such as a smoked barrel aged Negroni.
Launching in October, Alala’s garden conservatory will spill into an outdoor Parisian style patio shaded by the famous oak tree. Alala’s will have light filled spaces, natural tone flooring and bay windows overlooking the oak. Offering a picnic-style menu, Alala’s features home-made tartines — open sandwiches loaded with prosciutto, goats’ cheese and pear.
The drinks menu will include seasonal cocktails mixed with fresh produces and topped with eye-catching garnishes.
The two bars pay tribute to members of the longstanding publican family; David ‘Taffy’ Thomas purchased the hotel in 1975 with the support of his mother, Alala. Although Alala has since passed, 86-year-old Taffy can still be found pulling schooners every week from behind the bar.
Taffy’s and Alala’s will be connected by the Oaks Bottle Shop and Takeaway which is due to be completed in October. Headed by a dedicated craft beer curator, the shop will feature a communal tasting table that invites guests to ‘try before you buy’. Inspired by a 1940’s milk bar, a cast iron oven will bake fresh bread and a rotisserie will serve up hot roast rolls dripping with gravy, from midday until 1am.
The new venues join the expanding Thomas Hotel Group, which also owns and operates the Winston Hills Hotel in Sydney’s western suburbs and the Entrance Hotel in the Central Coast.