This Must Be The Place bar opens in Sydney

Yesterday, two of Australia’s most talented bartenders and DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ winners, Luke Ashton and Charlie Ainsbury, opened the doors to their highly anticipated bar This Must Be The Place, at 239 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney.

In 2013 Luke was crowned DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ Australia Bartender of the Year, winning a $100,000 prize to go towards opening his own bar. The following year Charlie took the title of 2014 World Class Australia Bartender of the Year, and their dream to launch their own establishment began.

This Must Be The Place is a Spritz bar. Using seasonal produce, spirits and specialty wines, the bar offers a twist on the traditional Spritz. Luke and Charlie are mindful of the number of ingredients they use in their cocktails ensuring they all have a place and are used to their full potential. To round out the drinks selection, a range of beer, wine, aperitifs and bar snacks are also available.

The bar, which seats around sixty people, was designed by the owners taking into account social and environmentally-friendly considerations. A reclaimed timber bar sits as the hub of the venue, while lounge tables and chairs rest along one wall. The new venue also features a floor-to-ceiling wall, which stands as a blank canvas, and will be decorated quarterly with artwork by established as well as up and coming artists.

A feature of the bar is a ‘Tanqueray No.TEN Crawley’s Imperial Shaker’ which is a six foot tall cocktail-making machine. The Imperial Shaker was recreated from a nineteenth-century drawing. Five of these machines were made in New Zealand. Now, four machines are in the United States and only one is in Australia, currently located at This Must Be The Place.

This Must Be The Place is a true representation of how the drinks and hospitality industry is evolving, and how trade competitions, such as Diageo’s World Class Cocktail Competition, support the growth of bartending as a successful career.

Percy’s Bistro launches at the North Sydney Hotel as apart of the North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival

To celebrate the first North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival, a celebrity cricket match was held at North Sydney Oval on Thursday 5 February 2015, followed by a VIP cocktail function was held at the newly renovated North Sydney Hotel’s bistro, Percy’s. 

North Sydney Council Mayor Jilly Gibson hosted this VIP cocktail function, opening the new bistro to the public for post-match drinks. Celebrities in attendance included cricketer brothers Brett Lee and Shane Lee, singer, songwriter (and 2003 Australian Idol winner) Guy Sebastian, guy Sebastian’s wife Jules Sebastian, singer (and 2003 Australian Idol runner up) Shannon Noll, singer Danny Fai Fai, Australian cricket legend Dean James, Australian cricketers Nathan Hauritz, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Merchant, New Zealand cricketer Daryl Tuffey, West Indies cricketer Darren Bravo, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Natalie Cook and 15 year old Spartan Scholarship winner Jack James. 

The North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival is a star-studded three day spectacular that took place on 5, 6 & 7 February 2015. It is an initiative of Spartan Sports which promotes healthy and active lifestyles for all ages.

Proceeds from the North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival will go to The Sebastian Foundation, with the festival also including a concert staring Guy Sebastian, Lee Kernaghan, Shannon Noll, Samantha Jade, and Timomatic, a food and wine festival, the first ever ‘Rebel Run’ throughout St. Leonards Park (led by Joint Olympian and World Champion Jess Fox), a group fitness class conducted by Cam Byrnes from hit TV show ‘Bringing Sexy Back’ and Penny Walsh from ‘Biggest Loser’ and a kids’ obstacle course race.

Percy’s is located at 292 Miller Street North Sydney (across the road from North Sydney Oval). It is open from 10am to 12am Monday to Saturday and 10am to 10pm Sunday. For further information go to:

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Tokonoma Sydney opens at Sydney CBD location

Sydney’s foodies, fashionistas, sportsmen and members of the media gathered at the basement level of 44 Bridge Street Sydney on Tuesday 3 February 2015 to celebrate the official opening of Japanese eatery Tokonoma Sydney, the CBD sister to Toko Sydney.

It has been two and half years in the making for this restaurant that was originally located next door to Toko Sydney in Crown Street Surry Hills to open its doors at this CBD location. This narrow historic space has been transformed to resemble an ancient Japanese structure. The interiors are a result of the artistic collaboration between esteemed architect Matt Darwon and Tokonoma Sydney proprietor Matt Yazbek, The concept, inspired by the ancient Japanese text ‘100 views of Edo’, is distinctly styled composition of sandstone, polished timber and concrete punctuated throughout by stunning murals by Ando Hiroshige.

Tokonoma’s traditionally inspired Japanese menu matches its venue. With a menu inspired by ‘shun’ (the essence of the seasons). “The word ‘shun’ describes the exact moment that a vegetable is at its very best, a fruit at its most succulently sweet, and fish at its most flavourful. In Japan, chefs take great pride in the celebration of shun. It is central to the Japanese culinary world and central to the philosophy of Tokonoma Sydney,” says Group General Manager Paul Birtwistle.

Guests included Sydney Roosters player Mitchell Pearce, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles player Brett Stewart, Parramatta Eels player Anthony Watmough and his wife Elle Watmough, ABC’s Rake co-writer Peter Duncan, Sydney Confidential reporter Briana Domjen and former Vogue Australia editor Kirstie Clements and her twin sons: Samuel and Joe.

Kirstie Clements also officially launched the restaurant, “I am honoured to be here as a longtime friend of Toko and now Tokonoma Sydney and to announce this beautiful new space officially opened,” said Ms Clements. “What I love about Tokonoma is the elegance. It is somewhat of a hideaway, so beautifully discrete, and the service and food is unrivalled.”

During the launch party, DJ Tobias Gilbert’s rocking tunes set the tone for the launch. Guests drank Tokonoma Sydney’s signature cocktail, the Rhubarb and Pink Grapefruit Paloma, while feasting on their ‘izakaya’ style menu of tasty morsels of Popcorn Shrimp, Oyster Tosazu, Spicy Tofu. Salmon Tartare, Spicy Tuna Maki, Kingfish Wasabi Maki, Eggplant Miso, and their mouth watering Wagyu Beef Gyoza.

Tokonoma Sydney is an elegant space convenient for corporate lunches and post-work or pre-theatre dinners. It is open for lunch from Tuesday to Friday and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations and walk-ins accepted. For reservations please call 02 9251 8185 or email

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Crane Bar celebrates its 2nd Birthday with a star-studded guestlist

The Japanese bar and restaurant, Crane Bar, located in Potts Point celebrated its ‘Age of Elegance’ themed second birthday on 16 December 2014.

Guests were treated to handcrafted cocktails, fine wines, and the venue’s sushi and sashimi signature dishes. Their Taichi chef demonstrated the cutting of a 35 kilogram tuna and guests got to eat the freshest sashimi ever.

Guests also got to see the venue’s newly renovated garden area. Superstar DJ Dem Foxes played the tunes all night.while guests danced in this garden area.

The star studded guests included: Channel 7’s The Morning Show TV presenter and 1997 Miss Australia, Laura Csortan; Singer and actress Casey Burgess who is famous for her work on the children’s show Hi-5; Out of the Blue and Home and Away actor Samara Weaving; television and radio presenter Scott Tweedie best known for his role in television series Prank Patrol and music program The Loop; MTV VJ Kristian ‘Krit’ Schmidt; and style expert Joshua Heath.

The venue decided to donate to the Red Cross Christmas Appeal to assist those affected by the Sydney Siege instead of postponing the party.

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