By Sacha Delfosse

Dan Woolley has resigned from his position as group beverage manager at the Riversdale Group, owners of several hotels including Kinselas, The Toxteth and The Bellevue, in order to pursue a range of new career opportunities. 

In the several months that Woolley held the position he was behind the successful launch of the Upstairs bar at The Bellevue Hotel and the opening of The Standard. However, a desire to reduce his extensive work hours and to focus on his passion for whisky has led him to move on.

“The reason I left is to pursue a life in whisky. Riversdale was going in a different direction to me and although we did some things over a six month period I have decided to leave to focus my career around whisky,” Woolley explains.

Woolley’s long term dream project of opening his own whisky bar, Arcane, is still in the works and he is currently talking with several companies about taking up a whisky brand ambassador role.

In three weeks he will also be heading down to Tasmania to do a tour of the local distilleries and plans to head to Scotland and the US within 12 to 18 months to do the same.

He has also signed up for a three month role to help design, set up and staff a new unnamed bar and restaurant in Double Bay that will occupy the old Planet Bollywood site across the road from Mrs Sippy.

The venue is owned in part by Daimon Downey of Sneaky Sound System fame, along with Andrew Beacher, co-owner of The Roxbury Hotel. It will cater for up to 200 people and offer Vietnamese food by well-known caterers, Miss Chu, along with upmarket cocktails.

“We will be doing high class cocktails that will be paired to the Vietnamese food, for example the house cocktail will be a spiced cane sugar, caramel and pineapple Margarita,” Woolley says.

“We are still negotiating the first pour agreements but the [Double Bay] bar will have a large whisky focus. The demographic of the area has a lot of whisky consumers and we expect to will have over 100 whiskies at the bar after a few months.”

Apart from great Vietnamese cuisines, high class cocktails and fantastic whiskies, Woolley says the new venue will also have a strong wine list that is being put together by Patrick Fox from Fox Beverages.

A heavy set velvet curtain will divide the space into two rooms, with a front section that will be opened during the day catering to the lunchtime crowd, and a cocktail lounge at the back that will open after 8pm and feature live music and DJs.

The interior is currently being stripped out and will soon be bulldozed with everything to be rebuilt from scratch and Woolley predicts the doors to officially open within seven to nine weeks.

“From Kings Cross to the Eastern Suburbs there is nothing like this, it’s going to be amazing. We expect full on clientele straight off the bat, it’s going to be big.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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