By Sacha Delfosse
The doors to The Roosevelt officially open today, adding a new chapter to a legendary Potts Point venue and bringing an innovative bar and restaurant concept to Sydney.
Sven Almenning, the man behind Sydney's Eau-de-Vie and its new sister bar EDV Melbourne, has teamed up with Graham Ette to transform a venue that was once a haven for Sydney's underworld and turn it into a place where cocktails are king and are integrated with quality cuisine.
"I’ve had this idea for a cocktail degustation concept and bar for ages; it was just a matter of finding the right venue," Almenning told TheShout.
"The layout of the venue is perfect for the concept and the building's amazing history was a real clincher – it ticked all the boxes for what we wanted to do."
The venue was previously owned and operated by Sydney underworld identity Abe Saffron as The Roosevelt Club. Its layout allows for the place to be separated into a cocktail lounge at the front and a dining section hidden inside, which is where The Roosevelt's cocktail degustation will take place.
Starting in February, The Roosevelt will offer a "communal dining" experience that will cost $150 for five cocktails and five matching dishes.
The degustation will combine the talents and skill of a bar team headed up by Barry Chalmers and featuring 'Dr' Phil Gandevia, Luke Ashton and Ben McFarlane, with the talents of the head chef, David Leitzen, a veteran of several Michelin-starred restaurants.
The front room cocktail lounge will also be serving a range of refreshing and interesting dishes to share, with a cocktails selection Almenning said draws its influence from the 1940s era.
"What we are doing is taking a classical approach to cocktail making but it's not about putting twists on Manhattans and Martinis. The cocktails are all quite original and modern, the idea is to create real theatrical and tasty drinks," Almenning said.