When news got out that Wembley small bar The Stanley was closing in February, locals took it hard – with some chalking up the closure as another Covid casualty. What actually happened, though, was that Siobhan Blumann and Hamish Fleming of hospitality group Bread & Circuses had bought The Stanley and were looking forward to continuing the bar’s crucial work of watering and feeding the neighbourhood.
After a two-month makeover, the bar reopened as Albert’s Respite and Refreshments on Friday and spent the weekend reacquainting itself with locals. While Fleming admits the look of the space has changed, the bar is still committed to being part of its community.
“It’s obviously very different from what it was, but we also want to be respectful of its legacy,” says Fleming. “A lot of people have a lot of fond memories of The Stanley. You don’t go and change the name of a bar lightly, but we felt like it needed a new start and our sort of spin on things.”
Fleming and Blumann, it’s safe to say, have a good idea of what locals want. The couple’s Flipside Burgers on the corner of Cambridge and Nanson streets has been feeding the people of Wembley since 2008. When The Stanley opened next door the following year, guests could order food at Flipside and staff would deliver it direct to the bar: a win-win-win for burger bar, alcohol bar, and bar-goer alike. (A similar symbiotic relationship exists in Fremantle between Mrs Brown and its neighbouring Flipside).
Regulars from the bar’s days as The Stanley will notice plenty of changes since the new owners took over. A new deck has been built out the back, and the courtyard has been opened. New decorations and trinkets beautify the space, including a picture of the bar’s namesake, Albert Gordon, and his family. (Gordon is a Jamaican publican whose pub The Midland Tavern in Cambridge, England, made a name for itself in the ’70s for welcoming drinkers of all backgrounds and social standings).
The hospitality offering at Albert’s has been a team effort from the entire Bread and Circuses family, and includes a drinks menu with a comprehensive snapshot of the current wine landscape (the cellar includes pét-nats, skin-contact white wines and chilled reds) as well as craft beers listed by style (light, fruit and spice, lager, ale). They’ve also introduced Albert’s Pantry, where you’ll find a selection of tinned sardines, terrines, smallgoods and other European snacks chosen by chef Kurt Sampson of Propeller.
Albert’s Respite and Refreshments 294 Cambridge Street, Wembley
Mon to Thu 4.30pm–late
Fri to Sun 12pm–late