ICYMI: These were the six biggest stories in February

How did that #FebFast work out for you? Regardless of whether you lasted the distance or not, this month saw some new venues on the way as we got a sneak peek at Walter’s in Brisbane and The Doss House in Sydney; we got great advice on opening a bar from Sven Almenning, and we checked in with Mjolner’s Alissa Gabriel and more.

So in case you missed them, here’s the six top reads from the month of February.

Here’s what to expect when new Sydney bar The Doss House opens in March

Colm O'Neill, owner of soon to open Sydney bar The Doss House.
Colm O’Neill, owner of soon to open Sydney bar The Doss House.

Sydney’s The Rocks district is the setting for a new whisky bar set to open in March, called The Doss House. The 100 capacity bar will take over the basement level of a heritage listed space at 77 George Street in The Rocks, and it’s from the site’s history that it draws its name.

“It’s an old opium den, cobblers, puppeteers and doss house,” says Bobby Carey, who is consulting on the bar (you may know him as the guy running award-winning Big Poppa’s).

The Irish expat bartender is working on the project for another Irish expat, Colm O’Neill, who has moved to Sydney from Peru, where he owned a hostel and bar. “I was on the way to New Zealand to open a bar,” he says. “I like it here. I changed all my plans, and I started looking.”


The bar takes its name from the doss house that used to operate on the premises. “It used to house 10 to 12 people around each fireplace on two stories, it used to be a doss down house,” says O’Neill.

If, like us, you have no idea what a doss house is, Carey explains: “Over here [in Australia] it meant that if you’re homeless or a prostitute or a drunk, and you had nowhere to sleep, you’d pay a shilling to doss down for the night. Back in Ireland, it would mean playing truant — going on the doss,” he says.

Click here to read the full story.

‘Do not get married to your concept.’ Sven Almenning on what to do before opening a bar

Sven Almenning, founder of the Speakeasy Group.

Last year, Sven Almenning (of Speakeasy Group fame) wrote a great series of articles on how to open a bar in this magazine, and during the Business of Bars Conference at Sydney Bar Week, he crystallised his advice into an entertaining, inspiring, and expletive-laden talk to would be bar owners.

(For what it’s worth, Almenning blames his profuse usage of profanity on the fact that he learned English from watching Eddie Murphy’s movies as a kid).

Here, we’ve pulled some highlights from the first half of his talk, in which he discusses what you need to know before you get the doors open to your bar — from the simple question of why on earth are you opening a bar to begin with, to location, concept, and aiming for amazing.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what to expect from the drinks when Walter’s opens in Brisbane

Brendon Osmers is leading the bar at Walter's Bar & Steakhouse.
Brendon Osmers is leading the bar at Walter’s Bar & Steakhouse.

Opening in mid-March, Walter’s Bar & Steakhouse will sit on the corner of Edward and Alice streets in Old Mineral House, a heritage-listed building in Brisbane’s CBD. It’s the newest venue for owners Denis Sheahan, Andrew Baturo and Paul Piticco, whose other venues include the award-winning occupant of another heritage-listed building, The Gresham.

The steakhouse will have a strong bar focus, with Brendon Osmers, who has been at The Gresham since its start, moving to Walter’s to take on the role of bar manager and resident wine guy.

“Walter’s Bar & Steakhouse has been a long time coming,” says Osmers. “The gents originally formed their partnership with the intention of creating a steakhouse with charm, following their different travels around the globe, and based on a love of a good drink,” he says.

Read the full story here.

‘Passion is number one.’ Alissa Gabriel on running the bar at Mjølner

Alissa Gabriel, bar manager at Mjølner, Sydney.

Alissa Gabriel is the bar manager at Sydney bar and restaurant, Mjølner, and she’s one of few bartenders to gain national recognition in the early stages of her career; with just a few years of bartending under her belt she took out the Australian leg of Bacardi Legacy back in 2015.
Now, with added experience at Sydney bars Eau de Vie, Charlie Parker’s, and now Mjølner under her belt, we thought it was time to check in on the Rockhampton native. Here, lightly edited, is where Gabriel is at right now.

Read the full story here.

4 of Australia’s best gin bars share their tips for a perfect Gin & Tonic recipe

The Gin & Tonic.

The Gin & Tonic is as classic a mix as one gets — it’s like junipery gin and bitter tonic water were fated to be found in one of those ‘name a more iconic duo’ memes. (We’ll wait).

But for such a simple mix, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a G&T; whilst a good one is a great drink, a Gin & Tonic that’s slapped together feels wrong, very wrong.

So we’ve turned to four of Australia’s best gin bars for answers, all with the hope of finding your perfect Gin & Tonic.

Read the full story here.

How to make buttered popcorn rum: a fat washing recipe

Buttered popcorn rum recipe.
During the 19th century the scented fat (called enfleurage pomade) started to be further processed by perfumers by washing it ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrant molecules into the liquid. The alcohol was then easily separated from the fat and allowed to evaporate, leaving behind the ‘absolute’ essence of the botanical matter. The spent fat was usually used to make soaps since it was still relatively fragrant.

This age old process hasn’t changed except now bartenders have convinced people that letting the alcohol evaporate is just plain silly and that flowers are for foppish dandies. Bacon, burnt butter, popcorn, banana, beef and rosemary and Kentucky Fried Chicken – these are just some the enfleurage pomades bartenders are washing into their booze today.

Read the full story here.