For some 32 years or so, the space at 55 Riley Street (now home to the Parlour Group’s new bar, Riley Street Garage) was Frank Lowy’s parking space, said new owner Brody Petersen.
The people who bought the garage from Lowy “got all the approvals, 200 seat restaurant, with primary service authorisation, trial to midnight, it got all approved and Fraser Short was going to take it on,” said Petersen (Short passed on the space to focus instead on his new interest in the Watson’s Bay Hotel). Petersen’s Parlour Group (The Flying Squirrel Tapas Parlour, The Stuffed Beaver Dining Parlour) scooped it up at auction, he said.
“We want to leave it as raw as possible – the bricks, the trestles, give it that New York, meat-packing district bistro feel. It’s going to have a huge oval bar that seats forty people,” he said. General manager, Bay Kilpatrick, said that they expect the bar to set the tone for the bistro. “The Parlour Group’s philosophy has always been about eating in a bar, rather than drinking in a restaurant,” he said.
They’re hoping to begin building in February with a view to opening in August. “We need the best bartenders behind that bar,” said Petersen. “I need bartenders with experience working in North America who know how to deal with twenty people sitting at their bar, eating dinner, you know?”
He said this is commonplace where he is from in North America. “You didn’t have people coming up ordering drinks and then leaving,” he said. “They sit there, they eat, they hang out. I want experienced bartenders that know what hospitality is all about.”
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