Talking Big with NSW’s Small Bar Association

Martin O'Sullivan  - owner of Grasshopper, Sydney

This news item featured in the December issue of Australian Bartender magazine.

There’s a bit of momentum behind NSW’s small bar movement at the moment, and it’s obvious. From Glebe (Mr Falcons and the Little Guy) to Redfern (The Dock) and Neutral Bay’s The Local as well as the city’s CBD there are DAs pending, doors opening and we are all benefiting from the spectrum of influences that new owner/ operators are bringing to the scene.

Riding along side this growth is the NSW Small Bar Association – a group fronted by Martin O’Sullivan (co-owner Grasshopper bar). “It’s interesting times at the moment as there are so many new and diverse operators coming into the market,” O’Sullivan stated while sitting down with Bartender magazine. “There are new ideas and experiences for the consumer and this keeps us [established businesses] honest.”

O’Sullivan has many of the new, and prospective, small bar operators contacting him in regards to the Association and what it can do for them, as well being out on the ‘beat’ himself and tracking them down. It’s very much about collaboration, and when you speak too many small bar operators they don’t really see other venues as competition. “We all want everyone to succeed and the [the Association] is all about assisting those people who are experiencing some trepidation,” says O’Sullivan.


It’s sometimes just the simple stuff he says, “I give plumbers and electricians’ numbers, contacts at the alcohol firms to talk to.” O’Sullivan sees these new bars as the future of the bar industry, but warns caution to those making the move. “Look at the property you’re going into. You don’t want to have to go and do a lot of base building work you basically want to get in there and fit it out.”

If you’re looking into a small bar operation and have any questions you can contact the NSW Small Bar Association at:

1 Comment
  1. Guys like Marty are the real heroes of the Australian bar industry. A selfless guy who puts himself out there to help others, and asks nothing in return. Maybe a hot chocolate here and there, but other than that, Nothing. Legend!!

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