Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MarApl 2016 Contents GET CREATIVE
ME My new bar was a different kind of proposal. With the pop-up down at
Barangaroo the first licence was an event licence and it was a 10-month deal and
so it was a no-brainer for us -- not much input by us, bit with a lot more gain. So
then for us to go into Barangaroo permanently was to do an actual barbershop.
Barbers can take the same amount of money -- if not more, after P&L on a 60
pax -- and so I thought, well I'll just cut all that out and I'll just do an actual
barbershop. It's licenced as well and it's a funny licence because you have to
have only three drinks per person and you can only have a drink if you're having
a service. The limitations are a lot, but you can drink whatever you like.
AF No losers. If you can't sit down and have a drink with them and have
the same ethos around hospitality and the same ideals in life, I don't think you
should be in business. It's a good idea to make it clear from the start what
everyone's expectations are in the partnership and what everyone is going to
be doing. And work out how your company is going to look at hospitality and
the venues. You need to have a clear identity and know what's important to the
company and everyone has a clear idea of what their role is within that company
BC You've got to be willing to also have a fight with them and then be able
to go and have a beer with them and make up. Hug it out. It's great to have a
partner and be able to bounce ideas off each other and throw around different
concepts and things like that.
JM You have to look at hospitality the same. It's really hard because a lot of
people think that they want to be involved and that they want to own a bar. But,
do you share the same vision? Are you doing it because you're passionate about
hospitality and you really want to build something that people will enjoy, or are
you doing it because you think you're going to make 20 grand a week and it's
going to be a cash cow for you?
ME It's good also to have different strengths, one of my business partners is
really good at numbers so I give him all the shit stuff to do and I do all the fun
stuff. It's good to have that balance though. One of my business partners has
been made silent because it wasn't working out, so he is sat there somewhere,
and the other guy is really chilled out and I can stress out and get all worked up
-- so he is a calming person for me.
IS ANYTHING ORIGINAL?
HW The way we have always done it is that we've always
built venues that have played off our strengths. All of our
stuff is based around things that we know and things that
we do well. The back end for all Applejack venues all seem
to run a bit the same for the nuts and bolts. Similar service
philosophy, our staff, the food, so while all the venues are
unique and different in their own way, the way they operate
is essentially the same. So we base our themes around
something that will work loosely in that model. We do stray
away as much as we can and sort of challenge ourselves and
make sure we keep it interesting.
AF We think of a place we would like to go that doesn't
exist and try to create that. With Frankie's we thought 'why
isn't there a late night rock and roll bar?' it just seemed
obvious. With Baxter we wanted to do a fancy whisky bar.
With Shady Pines it just seemed like obvious. And with
Hubert, the same. Our concepts aren't really original, they
have been done a million times, but we like to really delve
deep into the concept and flesh it out as much as possible
and try and I guess, pay homage to that concept and do it
as well as we can. But definitely places we like to go. Places
we want to hang out in.
JM For me all three venues are just things I like. I opened
Lobo because I love rum. That's essentially all it is. With Big
Poppa's, love cheese, love wine, love hip-hop. So it comes
from me wanting to build stuff that I love. I'm not saying
that everyone will love it, but if you do it well everyone likes
different elements of it. And I've always wanted a cocktail
bar where I can go and sit and listen to hip-hop. So it's more
from what I like, and what do the people around me like.
We all enjoy hospitality, what do we enjoy the most about
different places, then bringing it together and seeing if it
will work. And when you get down to it, the places that are
successful are the places that really think about the detail --
how does it look, what about the light, how does it sound,
what is the difference between your drinks and the drinks
next door. You start with a concept. With Kittyhawk, it
weaves and ducks and comes up and down until you land on
a product you're happy with, but it's about the detail.
BC Basically we just create places where we would like to
go and get drunk ourselves.
ME We've gone down this whole gin road for a couple of
reasons. When I was back in my Merivale days I talked Justin
[Hemmes] into turning one of his bars into a gin garden which
he did in a fairly half-arsed attempt, so I always wanted to
do it, and even the barber thing, the way I came at that was I
feel like the bartender and the barber have a lot of similarities
-- the tooling and the history -- and the history of gin is so
interesting, I wanted to go all in. It took us a while to get
there because we didn't have the funds to open the bar that
we wanted to originally. So then with Gin & It, I took an old
cocktail that I'd found, and it took me ages to find the name
of it, but I thought once that pop-up closes, I'll have 200 gins
to go back into The Barber Shop. So it was about being quite
resourceful in terms of creating a temporary project.
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