Tim Philips-Johansson on how Bulletin Place & Dead Ringer are working through coronavirus (and how you can support them)

Tim Philips-Johansson.

It’s fair to say that we are in uncharted waters right now. We love the Australian bar industry, and as the coronavirus situation evolves day to day, we wanted to know what some of Australia’s best bar operators are doing to get through this tough time. We’ve already posted our interview with Dimitri Rtshiladze from Perth bar, Foxtrot Unicorn (you can read that here).

Below, we hear from Tim Philips-Johansson, co-owner of Sydney venues Bulletin Place and Dead Ringer about how they see things in these uncertain times. They’re also keen to support the wider Sydney bar scene, and doing so under the #drinkitforwardsydney hashtag. On the Bulletin Place social media accounts, they’re offering anyone who visits one of the 10 venues tagged in their post a $10 Penicillin cocktail at their venues — you just bring the receipt in on the same night and enjoy the deliciousness in the glass. Take a look at the post below for more info, and check out Philips-Johansson’s thoughts below it.

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DRINK IT FORWARD SYDNEY. ?????? Hey friends! ?????? As you all are probably aware, in the face of less people eating and drinking out, our little bar has been hit quite hard. ?????? So, we've come up with an idea; If you would like to buy you or a friend a drink/meal in the form of a gift voucher, we'll happily offer an instant boost of 20% extra value if purchased between Monday-Thursday! Spend $100, get $120 – woohoo! Be quick though, this offer is only available this week. ?????? Think of it as your way of supporting our local venue from your computer and you can use this voucher any time in the next 3 years. In fact, if you're feeling well and ready for a drink like we are, you could instantly support our staff by purchasing online and coming in tonight! ?????? Simply follow our link in bio to purchase. ?????? Secondly, a lot of our fellow like-minded venues have also been feeling the pinch. ?????? To give them a helping hand, whilst also stimulating some good ol' fashioned bar hopping, we're offering ANYONE that walks into our venue with a receipt from the same night from one of the tagged friend's venues locally, a $10 Penicillin Cocktail*. THAT'S A BARGAIN and we're doing it until the end of March. ?????? Thank you for your continued support through this time of uncertainty! ?????? *If you've never had a Penicillin Cocktail, you'll have to trust us on this one.. ?????? #drinkitforwardsydney ?????? #drinks #Cocktail #cocktails #bartenderoftheyear #worldclass #worldclassdrinking #drinkstagram #COTD #cocktailoftheday #instadrink #Mixology #bartender #bar #craftcocktail #craftcocktails #goodtimes #imbibegram #sydney #sydneybars #sydneynightlife #libations #50bestbars


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What are some steps back of house that you’ve taken to take care of your staff in these coronavirus times?
We’ve assured staff that if they’re feeling symptomatic, to stay at home. Secondly, we’ve had a conversation about reducing risk around contracting a flu like Covid-19. Our staff are all well trained in food hygiene practices and we are working double-time to ensure they are maintained. Additoonally to this, we have added extra hand sanitizer to bathroom and the floor for guests and staff to utilize.

Throughout our networks we are working to find our staff alternative work, through writing, training and photography. We have some very talented casual staff that need work guarantees to cover their rent. We are certainly open to giving our team secure weekly shifts so that they can seek alternative employment if we can’t offer them their regular shifts, outside of those rostered days.

What are you doing to reassure customers that you’re taking this stuff seriously? Have you implemented any new strategies to keep the coronavirus at bay?
Obviously, everyone is taking this seriously, however we haven’t made it our mission to go out of our way to remind people of the dangers. People can and do educate themselves. We act as an escape for people to enjoy a great drink. We’re not here to tell them to wash their hands or constantly remind them of negative news. We have however made sure sanitizer is available in our venues.

The various fruit wines, cordials, kombuchas and lacto ferments that Bulletin Place experiments with. Photo: Christopher Pearce

How are you encouraging healthy punters to come in a support the bar?
We are offering anyone that would like to purchase a gift voucher for either Dead Ringer or Bulletin Place to buy through info@deadringer.wtf or bar@bulletinplace.com. They can use this anytime in the next 12 months and receive 20% on top in added value if they come in between Sunday and Thursday.

We also have great staff, food and drinks at both venues that need support. So I’d advise all members of the public that if they are feeling healthy, to come out and support us!

Do you have any advice for other bar owners trying to get through what looks like will be a tough time?
Look out for each other, your staff and families. “We’re all animals, but we’re not savages.”