Sydney is set to receive the royal treatment, with the launch next week of The Duke of Clarence: a themed 19th-century English public house in the heart of the CBD.
You’ll find this old-school English public house in the alleyway off Clarence street, the road named after the Victorian duke who went on to become King William IV. The Duke of Clarence plays a recurring role in the theatrics of the pub, with an oil painting of the man himself at the entrance to welcome you in.
Dreamed up by Mikey Enright and Julian Train – the team behind The Barber Shop gin bar next door – the new venture promises plenty of Victorian flair, with the help of an all-star cast to bring the pub to life. Inside is fittingly flamboyant, thanks to an eccentric fit-out by the UK set designer Sara Mathers, who has dressed the sets for blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge, Oliver Twist and Ned Kelly. The spectacle of the interiors alone is enough to sell a visit.
Sara and the team have cleverly incorporated original furnishings and titbits from across the UK to produce not just a good doppelganger of an English pub, but a pretty authentic-feeling one at that. Everything from stained glass windows to antique panelling and floorboards dating back to the 1850s has been foraged from pubs, churches and warehouses across England. The devil is truly in the detail, with 19th-century porcelain beer taps and Victorian tiles traipsed across the seas to create a proper English pub facade.
Mikey and Julian have entrusted former Merivale Executive Chef David O’Brien to develop the menu with Head Chef David Penistone. Expect to see British pub classics reinvented for sharing and Australian palates – from classic Scotch eggs all the way to luxe fish finger sangas. Sunday roasts will also be on the menu from early 2018.
The 12-metre bar spans the length of The Duke of Clarence and will be well stocked with all the good stuff, including a variety of 500 UK-crafted spirits. There will be particular emphasis on cask ales and classic cocktails. Whether it’s a pint or a gin martini, there’s a place waiting by the open fire in the library nook, or sitting at the bar for each lady and gent that passes by.
The Duke of Clarence will open its doors on Monday 4 November. Keep up to date with the old Duke’s progress here.