By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
Merivale have announced the increase in its portfolio of Sydney venues, with eight new venues set to open by February 2016. The new venues include three hotels, a restaurant, a chicken shop, a whisky bar, wine bar and tapas bar.
While Merivale has been on a trajectory of growth since the late 90s, this is the largest amount of venues opening for the hospitality group in just over six months. “This intense period of Merivale’s growth is such an exhilarating time for the group. It’s the excitement of diversity and a real need to feed the increasing appetites of Sydney siders for interesting, quality and family-friendly offerings that’s driving much of our evolution,” said Justin Hemmes, CEO of Merivale.
The new hotel offerings by Justin Hemmes are The Paddington (formerly The Paddington Arms); Newport Arms, purchased from Bayfields Hotel Group in March this year; and Queen Victoria Hotel. The purchase of the Queen Victoria Hotel is Merivale’s first foray into Sydney’s Inner West.
Hemmes was quick to point out that the new openings are down to his team and their talent. “The strength of my team is a reflection of their talent – not just the managers but also the chefs.” There is a consistent focus on good food offerings at Merivale and this will be no different at the new venues.
“We have a very educated clientele in Australia. We expect quality here. We have great produce and excellent chefs. This constantly challenges us as operators,” states Hemmes. “We have a very strong focus on the smooth integration of food, beverage and family, whether it’s having a great meal or excellent snack dishes at the bar.”
This is also reflected in the unique décor of each Merivale venue. “We try to tailor each venue to the local community without being overdesigned or trendy. Fundamentally it’s based on comfortable experiences,” says Hemmes.
The Queen Victoria Hotel will be re-launched in January 2016 and the first stage of renovations at Newport Arms will be revealed in January/February. The front bar and bottle shop at both venues will remain open to customers throughout renovations. The Paddington is set to launch next month, with a revamped kitchen where the focus will be on roasting, and a new cocktail bar.
Merivale’s other new venues include J&M, a whisky bar in Angel Hotel; Fred’s restaurant in Paddington; Sussex 1854, a tapas bar located in the basement of Fred’s; and a wine bar in the current site of the Work In Progress bar in Sydney CBD.