Old Mate’s Place, one of Sydney’s most popular new venues, recently unveiled a finished rooftop bar – and has extended its trading times (and added a few new cocktails to the drinks list) to make the most of the daytime hours.
Since opening in September last year, it’s been all systems go for Old Mate’s owners Andres Walters (The Lobo Plantation, Kittyhawk), Gabrielle Walters (barGEEK), and Daniel Noble (Ramblin’ Rascal) – a period of five months that Andres Walters describes as “fun, long and definitely trying”.
“We really didn’t expect to be as busy as we were so we didn’t really hire enough staff,” Walters told BARS&clubs. “Luckily enough we had a few legends come on board who fit right in. Like any opening its always a learning phase for the first few months and I think we were just so lucky to have the staff on board that we did.”
As Walters explains, the original plan was to have the completed rooftop bar ready for opening day, but with a few unexpected snags – including a now-solved asbestos issue – costs quickly ballooned.
“We 100% ran out of money so the rooftop was never finished and our plan was always to tick a few things off each week. Some weeks we got more accomplished than others but that goes with running a bar I guess – the first priority is to make sure the people visiting have the best time, right?
“Asbestos really took the majority of our cash away so we had to be really clever with what we did when we opened.”
Still, it seems as if Old Mate’s Place’s initial offering was more than sufficient to keep people coming back anyway. “We feel like people really liked the vibe and what we were trying to achieve, and understood that we weren’t quite finished with the building of the rooftop,” explains Walters.
In line with the completed rooftop bar, the opening hours at Old Mate’s Place have been extended into the daytime from Thursday to Sunday (12pm-2am).
“Feedback from the rooftop since it’s been finished has been outstanding,” Walters said. “To be able to offer the exact same cocktail list and almost any classic you can imagine has been awesome.
“We’ve noticed people enjoying things we didn’t expect up there like Martinis, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. When you think rooftop bar you kinda think Mojitos etcetera, but it’s been the opposite – it’s really quite awesome and the customers really just let you take them on an adventure too, which is sick!”
New cocktails on the drinks list at Old Mate’s include ‘Melody’ (watermelon reduction, sake, sherry, gin, citrus, bitters and a touch of salt) and ‘Predecessor’ (passionfruit husk whisky, toasted sesame vodka, Chardonnay verjuice, pink grapefruit and whites, garnished with black sesame seeds) – both pictured above.
And there’s also plans to keep the expansion going: “For us the pipe dream is to extend the rooftop but this is again quite far away,” says Walters. “We’re focusing on our new daytime opening hours for now.”
But given the success of Old Mate’s Place so far, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this eventuate sooner rather than later.
“We’re super stoked with where we have taken this place and look forward to seeing where it goes over the next few years. We’ve got a great bunch of girls and guys on board who are honestly so much fun to work with so it makes coming in every day quite a good laugh, it just never feels like work.”