‘What are we going to call this bar?’ Moaned Gregory one day a few weeks ago.
For creative people, we really struggle with names – for the bar, for our book, for our children…
It’s a serious matter, because typically (unless your kids ditch it the second they realise you named them LEGNA because it’s Angel backwards ) a name is forever.
We’re quite happy with the names we settled on for our kids – my sister-in-law wisely advised that whatever we chose, we should first practice saying it over and over and over and over because that is what we will often be doing. Unfortunately she is not wrong.
Gregory actually came up with both their names – Quinn and Edie – I just agreed because I really liked them. Gregory also chose Hartsyard, based on the garden he had started out at my parents’ place. But the bar was really alluding him. (I’d given up by this point).
But then Gregory’s brother Pete came to visit over New Year and one day Pete came out of his room dressed in a t-shirt that his mum had given to all of us a couple of years earlier.
Clearly here, he is not wearing any shirt at all but all the other photos I took of him include our little friends Q and E and I prefer to keep them off the inter webs. This is when we put him to work in the Hartsyard garden.
‘Come on,’ says Gregory to Pete, ‘can’t you come up with anything?’
Pete looks down at his t-shirt.
‘Why don’t you call it The Gretz?’ he said and solved our problem at once.
You see, Gregory and I had completely forgotten that Gregory and Pete’s maternal great-great-grandfather had started a very successful brewery in Philadelphia. It was renamed William Gretz Brewing Company after prohibition ended in 1933 and was run by their great-grandfather who passed away when their mum was 6.
Gregory’s mum doesn’t have much of a memory of Granddaddy Gretz, but his uncle does and remembers him as a big, gentle softly-spoken man who loved to travel and was quite a photographer. No one can attest to the quality of the photos by the way, but he enjoyed taking them just the same. He also loved to smoke cigars and Uncle Joe remembers him retiring to the parlour after dinner, take off the paper ring which he would give to Joe and proceed to enjoy his smoke.
Gretz Brewing Company stayed at the forefront of the industry by being one of the first brewing companies to put their beer in cans.
So basically, our kitchen staff shotgun beers because of Gregory’s great-grandfather.
The Gretz Brewing Company was also particularly well known for their advertising posters in the 50’s, which were thought to be ahead of their time.
Unfortunately though, shotgunning beer hadn’t been invented yet and the 50’s were a tough time for beer (apparently returned service men and women were influenced by tropical regions and were drinking a lot of rum and I think housewives were chomping on valium for their high), and the brewery was bought out in 1954. The name lives on in PA as a wholesaler for beer…and now in downtown Sydney as the name of our little bar in the groovy inner west!
On our first date nearly 8 years ago, (at Momo Fuku noodle bar in NYC) I was fairly clear that I was only in NYC to sing and dance and that just like the song says ‘I still call Australia home’ and was heading back down under at some point in the future. Gregory readily agreed to come along for the ride, but I am well aware that that was a generous decision to make. We miss holidays with his family – Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July, we both miss NYC, our friends, the late night dinners, Central Park in Fall…and his family.
Now, in some small way, he’s got his family here with him.
And just to be extra schmaltzy, I graffitied our initials into the cement behind the bar.
Team Llewellyn and Hart together forever on Enmore Road.
You can come and check it out soon.
Give us two weeks.