By Sacha Delfosse, editor bars&clubs
The first winning concept for Sydney’s IconPark crowd funded hospitality space has been announced and is set to start trading late April.
Stanley St. Merchants beat five other competing drink and dining concepts, recruiting the highest number of supporters to take out the top spot and become the first operators to occupy the space.
The team consists of industry veterans Bobby Carey (ex-Riley St Garage and Shady Pines Saloon), Jeremy Spencer (The West Winds Gin), Salvatore Malatesta (St ALi Group), Matt Stone (Greenhouse) and Duncan Beard.
Like many great ideas, the concept was developed over a few beers and consists of three different areas inside the two-story venue – Uncle Sal's House of Cards and Dominos, The East Sydney Distilling Co., and Stanley St Merchants.
“Sal’s will have amaros, red wines, white wines and Negronis, and classic Italian fare. The East Sydney Distilling Company will be set up like an army mess hall and is a tip of the hat to the Rum Rebellion, and the armed forces and their ferocious drinking habits. It’s like MASH meets Mötley Crüe,” said Spencer.
“Downstairs, the focus and engine room of the whole business, is where Stanley St. Merchants will be. That will be our all day food and dining option and we will be serving up sustainable food by internationally renowned rock star chef Matt Stone. It’s seasonally responsible so we won’t be importing stuff if it’s out of season." [continues below]
The Stanley St. Merchants team
As part of their crowd funding drive the team came up with a range of merchandise from branded T-shirts and aprons to Negroni magnums to more unique things supporters could purchase, such as getting their name on a bar stool or toilet cubicle.
There were also educational experiences as well as a $10,000 party package that was purchased twice.
“We used the skill sets that we had, for example we’ll have a gin masterclass and a captain’s table where Matt Stone will come and cook for you and present the dish," Spencer said.
Former Perth Rockpool Bar & Grill manager David Nguyen-Luu will be joining the team, but Spencer also said they are still looking for more staff to come on board.
“The whole process in the lead-up to the announcement has been absolutely invaluable. Even as someone that’s been in the industry for a long time, I’ve learnt so much, and it’s been fun and an inspiration to work with guys like the founders of IconPark, Paul Schell and Dean McEvoy,” said Spencer.
“I really want to encourage people to get involved in the next round of IconPark. It’s an unparalleled innovation and opportunity for anyone in the industry. Feel free to call me and I'll gladly tell you all about it. Massive respect to all the other competitors, they’ve been great.”