New hospitality venture DTL Entertainment Group (DTLE) is set to reopen legendary Sydney pub Jacksons on George, five years after the venue closed.
DTLE’s ownership is comprised of entrepreneurs Steve Bannigan and Paul Ford, creative director Maurice Terzini, and general manager Michael Broome. Broome, at 38, has a depth of venue experience, having started his career as a manger at Orchard Hotel in Penrith, before working in several pubs for Gallagher Hotels. He’s also owned his own pubs in the past, including Northbridge Hotel, and Tattersalls Hotel in Penrith.
Almost four years ago, the group bid for and won the tender to reinvigorate the Jacksons on George venue, which sits right at the north edge of Sydney’s CBD, not far from Circular Quay. Pre-lockouts, the venue had a reputation as a late-night spot, somewhere to go after visiting other venues. This is something that DTLE wants to change.
“We want to take it from the last place you go to, to the first place to go to on your night out,” stated Broome.
DTLE is also hoping to capitalise on the resurgence of that end of the CBD, with both more corporates returning to work, as well as international travellers out and about once more.
“The area is one that’s going to be up and coming for the next five, six years, I believe. I think Barangaroo has slowed right down and circular Quay and Sydney Place is definitely where corporates are moving to,” stated Broome.
“Plus having all the transport running near there – the buses, the trains, the trams, the international boats and ferries. It’s just all in one little hubs.”
John Green, AHA NSW director of liquor and policing agrees, and believes the venue is well placed to become a central part of CBD hospitality once more.
“Jacksons on George was a late-night institution for a generation of Sydneysiders – it’s great to see such a stylish resurrection of a true Sydney hotel icon.
“It’s a destination venue that straddles the space between the CBD and the Rocks – and is also perfectly positioned as a gateway to Sydney for the increasing number of travellers who arrive via cruise ship.”
Surrounded by high-rise office buildings, Broome estimates that they have 30,000 corporate workers in a 50m radius of the venue.
A new chapter
The new chapter in Jacksons on George’s history is expected to be a bit more refined, while also sticking true to the ethos that a pub is a welcome and casual space for everyone.
The ground level of Jacksons on George will house a public bar and offer a contemporary lens on pub classics, old school cocktails with a modern twist and local beers on tap. Bistro George on level one will present a European-Australian menu championing local producers and suppliers before transforming, post-dinner, into a late-night bar featuring live music and a supper menu. The top floor is an al fresco rooftop tucked under a striking architectural veil, with views over the CBD.
The fit-out for the venue – a collaboration between DTLE and architectural studio Richards Stanisich – has been planned with the intention to create something fresh and timeless, as well as championing a Sydney feel.
“We really want it to be something iconic. So when you walk into Jackson’s, you know, you’re in a Sydney bar. If you go to Paris, you know you’re there. So with this venue we’re using a lot of Australian products like hardwoods, stones, metals. If we could use it from Australia, we’d use it,” explains Broome.
Leading the kitchen will be Steven Sinclair as head chef, to up the ante when it comes to pub dining. Sinclair moves into this role from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and brings with him a wealth of experience gained from tenures at two of Ireland’s most esteemed restaurants, The Old Schoolhouse Inn and The Potted Inn, as well as a stage at Michelin-starred L’Enclume in England.
At the Public Bar and Rooftop, Sinclair’s menu includes a sausage roll made with slow cooked duck sausage; a Moreton Bay bug bun with lightly battered bug meat, crisp Iceberg lettuce and a softly spiced Vadouvan mayonnaise on a milk and potato bun; and a crisp salad of cos lettuce, rotisserie chicken that has been brined, air-dried and cooked over charcoal with a soft egg dressing.
For Bistro George, classic and contemporary bistro dishes include Clams Casino; salt and Armagnac brined Ora King salmon gravlax with blinis and cultured cream; and a selection of steaks such as Wagyu salt crusted ribeye. Dessert will include a signature Jacksons banoffee sundae.
“What sets us apart is the high-quality produce we source from trusted suppliers. Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch at the Public Bar or enjoying a meal at Bistro George, you deserve the best ingredients we can procure. The food will be simple, elegant and above all, excellent,” suggested Sinclair.
While many Sydney-siders have their own memories and stories of Jacksons on George, Broome says DTLE are going to put their own stamp on the venue, and create something new.
“Jacksons on George has got such history. Every second person has a story about it. So we definitely embrace its history, but it’s been closed for five years which is enough time for us to create our own adventure there. We’re going to create some new history.”
Jacksons on George is slated to open in Spring. Meanwhile, DTLE will continue to look for other distinguished venues that they can breathe new life into.