On-prem news: Re’s reopening delayed, world’s first distillery in ex-prison, and more

May 13, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Re at The Norfolk experiencing delays

Tomorrow’s scheduled reopening of Sydney’s Re, the world’s first zero-waste bar and #46 in 2023’s World’s 50 Best Bars List, has been delayed until mid to late May. 

Re will be moving from Eveleigh to The Norfolk in Redfern after closing its original venue earlier this year. 

“We’ve given Re a new home, but our signature style of experimentation and sustainable practice is still paramount for us,” said Matt Whiley, Re’s Founder.

“We’ve already been able to redirect perfectly fresh waste and create cocktails and new dishes as part of our re-opening.”

The new location is expected to emulate much of the same vibe as the former venue, featuring recycled decor and a food and drinks menu based around championing waste items sourced through partnerships with other venues and producers. 

“The team has had a lot of fun doing a lot of the work in the lab just next door,” said Whiley.

Re forms a part of the PUBLIC Hospitality portfolio, which acquired the Maybe Sammy Group in April last year.

“We look forward to welcoming our new neighbours in Redfern in,” said Whiley.

McConnell’s new Distillery in a former prison hopes to put Irish whiskey tourism on the map

A bit further afield, the Northern-Ireland city of Belfast has announced a unique new tourist attraction in the form of the McConnell’s Distillery and Visitor Experience located within the A-wing of Crumlin Road Gaol. 

The newly unveiled venue, which is officially the world’s first ever whiskey distillery to be established in a former prison, is hoping to be a major drawcard in international liquor tourism, with the guided tour overlaying the histories of both the whiskeys and the venue collectively. 

“I am very confident that all of our guests, locals and tourists alike, will have a truly world-class experience when they come through our doors,” said John Kelly, CEO of McConnell’s Belfast Distillery Company.

“Following significant investment from our Board and international investor community and support from the Northern Ireland Government Departments, we have put in place an experience which really will take the breath away.”

The guided tour will cost around about AUD $48 per ticket and will feature a welcome drink, McConnell’s 5 Year Old Whisky, McConnell’s Sherry Cask Whisky and some new-make liquid, along with the tour of the jail itself. Currently, only the 5 Year Old is available in Australia.

The new multi-million-pound distillery, which the brand hopes will bring benefit not just to McConnell’s but to Irish whiskey and Irish whiskey tourism overall. 

Mark Johnston, Head of Sales and Marketing at MocConnell’s, said, “McConnell’s is an historic Belfast brand which is now making a big impact on the Irish whisky market at home and on a global scale with our trusted partners, with our whiskies now enjoyed by consumers in over 45 countries worldwide. With our award winning brand now having a new home, the future holds great promise for McConnell’s Irish Whisky.”

McConnell’s Irish Whiskey 5 Year Old is available to purchase in Australia via Dan Murphy’s and BWS at an RRP of $74.  

To learn more about the distillery experience and the brand’s soon-to-be 250 year history, visit the McConnell’s Irish Whiskey website

Coogee Bay Hotel Redevelopment Plans

Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel is about to undergo a major redevelopment following on from recently granted approval by the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel. 

The announcement follows on from a long period of planning and discussion, with an initial application being lodged in July 2021. 

According to Chris Cheung, Managing Director of the Coogee Bay Hotel, the now-approved changes to the 8,5000 square metre hotel site will re-cast it as a more family friendly venue better suited to the Coogee community.

“We are happy to be finally moving forward and excited to deliver a renewed Coogee Bay Hotel that will reinvigorate the Precinct,” he said.

“As members of the community for the past 30 years, we understand the local environment and believe our plans will better integrate the hotel within the community and reinvigorate the entire site. 

“The proposal will enhance the heritage elements of the hotel building, upgrade its accommodation offering, create a wider range of entertainment, dining options and public meeting spaces, and create a more family friendly environment.”

The approved remodelling includes the demolition of buildings, updates to the Coogee Bay Hotel to allow it to provide 18 hotel rooms, the creation of a new three storey building to the southern side of the beer garden with 13 new hotel rooms, construction of five/six storey shop top housing comprising 58 dwellings, 11 retail premises, and a new internal laneway from Coogee Bay Road, basement parking for 158 cars, subdivision, landscaping and associated works.

For more information visit the Randwick City Council’s website here.

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