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Naomi's Blog

HOW SONDHEIM SUMMED UP OPENING A NEW BAR.

By January 16, 2015 No Comments

After the gaol sentence that was living above the restaurant, Gregory, the girls and I moved to a lovely little house in a suburb that is honestly, probably a little too posh for the likes of us.

We think the house agrees and has been trying to get us to move out for 18 months by having a leaking roof that no professional seems to be able to fix, a leaking bathroom that required over a month’s worth of work, a family of possums that took a good few weeks to evict and exploding lighting in the entire kitchen and living area.

I feel a bit like that family in Beetlejuice.

Unlike them though, we have been beaten and will move again sometime before Q starts school next year. I keep telling Gregory that here is the positive to not being able to afford property in Sydney; ‘see, being renters means we can manipulate which school Q goes to.’

Always look for the silver lining people. And always ask for suggestions – anyone got opinions on schools in the general inner-west area? We need to be bike-riding distance from the restaurant. And by bike-riding I mean a not too expensive cab ride as Gregory is as reluctant to exercise as I am to buy a second car!

There is another silver lining and that is that the neighbours on BOTH SIDES OF US are wanting to renovate, one of them already with council approval, the other only just having begun the fight. I would rather shove a pin in my eye than live through that, particularly when one is a total knock down and rebuild. Of course this means our owners now have even more reason to drop into our house as they petition council to deny the plans submitted.

To be fair, the knock-down-rebuild people do have a point – their house is by far the ugliest one on the street. It’s an extraordinary marvel of hideousness and I can’t imagine anything being worse than what’s there currently. Out the front of their ugly little house is an ugly little tree that has wreaked its nastiness by using its roots to pull up all the paving in the ugly front courtyard making it a treacherous walk to their front door, particularly for their toddler.

The owners petitioned council to allow for it’s removal and after an initial denial, it then went to a full-council meeting one Saturday morning out the front of our street. Saturday mornings can be a tad slow round our joint, so the girls and I went along to see the action.

I have never witnessed a more spectacular example of bureaucracy in all my life.                  The councillors gathered around the tree and had their names marked off by a particularly officious looking woman. There were quiet murmurs as the councillors assessed the offending plant.

‘Excuse me Councillor Howard,’ said the officious one, ‘what was that you said?’

‘Oh, nothing really.’

‘Oh. It must have been the fairies then was it? Let it be noted that everyone is to speak one at a time and in a voice loud enough to be heard by all.’

She just about took my fingerprints when she discovered I was in attendance despite being ‘unrelated to the issue’ and then, unable to reach a decision, she called the meeting to a halt and our poor neighbour was told to attend a council meeting where she would have 3 minutes to present her case. ‘Three minutes is not as long as you think it is and you are not to repeat any information at all, so might I suggest you rehearse beforehand.’

The neighbour must have rehearsed indeed, because the tree removal was finally approved but it does make you wonder about the fight they’re in for to knock down an entire house!

Which is why when Gregory started making noises about opening a second place, I insisted it be somewhere with an existing liquor licence and a space that only required a refit, not anything structural that would land us in DA hell for the term of our natural lives.

And so here we are, busy refitting a lovely little space further up the road from Hartsyard. Where Hartsyard is wide and boxy, this one is long and slender, not unlike many of the lower east side bars Gregory and I used to drink at when we were dating. Demolition (Gregory’s favourite job) was over before Christmas, and thanks to generous amounts of slave labour from friends and family, the bar is almost completely built, the stools are in construction, wood has been sanded, walls have been primed and lights are ordered.

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Just like childbirth, the second time round, while still intense and overwhelming, is at least not as shocking as the first. Gregory’s weird anxious-stomach-vomit-bug has only appeared once and my sleepless nights are still in the single digits.

 

 

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One thing American bars do really well is table service, so we’ll be stealing that concept from them and offering it at our space, along with a delicious collection of classic and slightly reworked cocktails, sparkling wine (upon my insistence), tasty wines and beers and a snack menu of 8-10 food items still being worked and reworked in my husband’s ever-busy brains.

The designer, (Ashley Couch) is the same wonderful friend who did Hartsyard and we can’t wait till she arrives from NYC in two short weeks. Tris, the world’s best builder (he’d have had our leaking roof fixed in five minutes) is on deck again, as is our fabulous electrician Dave (his business motto – ‘no extra charge for awesomeness’) and Sydney’s nicest plumber, Matty from Bligh Plumbing.

Slated opening is early February but you know how that goes…

Still, just like the labours for our two girls, a lot can happen in a really short space of time and before you know it, you’ve got another baby!

There’s a lyric in the song I Know Things Now from Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods (just released as a movie) where Little Red says; and he made me feel excited. Well, excited and scared.

That’s how we’re feeling right now. Excited and scared.

Looking forward to serving you at our new space soon.

Have wonderful weekend.

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