The Hook, from the Australian Bartender magazine team, opens this week

Mike Delany, Dave Spanton & Amy Spanton. Photos by Chris Pearce

Dave and Amy Spanton, the team behind Piccolo Bar, Vermuteria, and Australian Bartender magazine, are set to unveil their latest venture, The Hook, in Sydney’s Kings Cross this Thursday. Nestled at 13-15 Bayswater Road, The Hook is a cocktail and oyster saloon. The team is thrilled to revive the oyster culture on Bayswater Road, reminiscent of the golden era of Bayswater Brasserie and its renowned freshly shucked oysters.

What else to expect? Dave has spent the last three months overhauling the site, painstakingly collecting art and antiques from around the world to create his vision of a saloon-style bar with live piano and oysters. It brings together elements from trips to Ireland, Scotland and England – like the green-hued bar, whiskies and Guinness – as well as saloons and dive bars from New Orleans to New York.

Dave had his eye on the site for a while, with the central horseshoe bar being a major drawcard. “It’s a great location right in the heart of Kings Cross with both inside and outside seating,” he says. “It will be the perfect place to sit and enjoy some oysters freshly shucked for you right at the bar, a few ice-cold martinis and live jazz piano tunes.”

With nearly 30 years in the bar industry, this venue brings together lots of Dave’s favourite things. “There are oyster twists, nautical design elements, coastal whiskies, beer, Champagne and classic cocktails,” says Dave.

“It’s a great location right in the heart of Kings Cross with both inside and outside seating. It will be the perfect place to sit and enjoy some oysters freshly shucked for you right at the bar, a few ice-cold martinis and live jazz piano tunes.” – Dave Spanton, owner

Highlights from the menu include oysters, of course. You can have them freshly shucked with a range of sauces, including traditional mignonette, Laphroaig, or a signature Bloody Mary hot sauce. We also have four types of grilled oysters. “It’s a throwback to the 80s,” says Dave. “When things like Mornay and Rockefeller were all the rage.”

In typical saloon fashion, hot food is burgers and dogs – the signature smash-style cheeseburger or the LP’s Dive Dog that you can sauce up yourself.

On the drinks front, there is beer on tap and in tins, with Guinness leading the charge. There is also a bumper selection of Champagne to pair with the oysters and, of course, classic cocktails. “Highlights for me include the 1940s Hurricane, a throwback to the original New Orleans recipe (rum, passionfruit, grenadine and lemon juice), served in a hurricane glass, and the Black Velvet, a fusion of Guinness and Sparkling wine,” says Dave. “We are also doing our French 75 in the traditional way – with Champagne, not prosecco – it’s delicious.”

1940’s Hurricane Cocktail

It’s a bigger undertaking than their two other venues, with some 250 square metres of floor space. To help get it off the ground, Dave has once again assembled an esteemed team of hospitality professionals. He is the creative force behind the venue, driving the concept and look of the bar from the ground up.

Bringing his vision to life, Dave joined forces with his long-time friend and collaborator, Mike Delany. Together, they transformed Piccolo Bar and Vermuteria, establishing a reputation for creating unique, historic-style bars. “Our aim is to create an atmosphere that feels like it’s been part of the community for half a century,” shares Dave.

Also taking an active role in getting this new project off the ground is Amy Spanton, Dave’s wife and business partner, who is overseeing operations, while still running their media and events business, Spanton Media with Dave. “This has been a much bigger undertaking for us from a business perspective, with more staff and more behind-the-scenes management,” Amy says. “It’s really exciting to be working on a bigger venue with a bigger team and doubling down on our vision to make Kings Cross great again.”

Jay Cozma, former GM of The Baxter Inn, has also pitched in with the set-up, in particular helping to shape the drinks list, helping to hone in on our beer and spirits selection. You might spot him doing the odd rockstar shift as well.

Rounding out the management team is Michael Perelini (formerly GM at The Lobo) who brings with him a wealth of knowledge of venue operations and a Midas touch with front of house. He will be waiting to greet you at the door with his trademark moustache and he will be joined by some familiar faces on the floor and behind the bar this week, so come say hi.

The team are excited to open this week. 13-15 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross.

Walk-ins only. No Bookings.

  • Thursday 23rd May, 5pm -10pm
  • Friday, 24th May 5pm – midnight
  • Saturday 25th May 5pm – midnight
  • Regular hours (from 30th May): Wednesday to Saturday, 5pm – midnight. Sunday, 5pm-10pm

Follow us on socials @thehooksydney for updates