By Michelle Hespe

Manly’s North Steyne has for decades been home to some familiar old pubs, takeaway and souvenir shops, casual beachside dining and surf shops.

Crammed with fancy new and crappy old apartments it’s a goldmine of a spot as there are plenty of young people with money to burn and hoards of cashed-up tourists. But unlike the Sydney beachside suburb’s harbour area, it’s never really taken off.

Yet there’s change in the air— marked by last night’s (October 30) official opening of The Charlie Bar.

Charlie Bar has the right mix for Manly. Anyone would feel comfortable in the smart downstairs bar and dining areas, enjoying an afternoon beer or glass of wine in the huge open-plan space while looking out across the ocean. It’s also ideal for families and the plethora of young north-side mummies with big fancy prams who spend hours in the beachside bars and restaurants.

On the third level, at the Sable Bar, it’s a whole different ball game. Sophisticated, opulent furnishings and intimate moodily lit spaces come together seamlessly in a very suave cocktail bar. One can easily picture the girls flocking here in their glam frocks and the dance floor and enormous, cave-like rattan lounges are sure to kick off a riot of summer loving. And so it should be for the $11 million the Laundy and Karedis families have ploughed into the venture.   

Designers Altis Architecture, together with Robyn Gumbley of Laundy Hotels, used clean structural lines and a palette of warm bronze, dark chocolate, latte and cream to bring it all together.

Veteran hotelier and patriarch of the Laundy family, Arthur Laundy, had everyone in stiches when he made a moving speech loaded with thanks for his family and everyone else involved in the venture, and then accidentally thanked Moet for sponsoring the night. Oops.

He quickly made amends, sending out a big thanks to Bollinger. “Well, you’re talking about someone who hadn’t seen the ocean before coming to Manly,” he said.

So as the Bollinger flowed, the canapes were rolled out, with tray upon tray of fresh Mod-Aus offerings with a Mediterranean twist.  And when the speeches were over and guests made their way upstairs to Sable, cocktails and lemon gelato were on offer.

As the DJs spun out tunes that had the dance floor rocking, the balcony overlooking one of Sydney’s most spectacular beaches was filled with a crowd of happy faces.

Manly’s good old pubs may have to pick up their game if they want to compete with this new luxe destination. 

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The Shout Team

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