While it’s not exactly the first thing you look at when stepping into a restaurant, a staff uniform is the icing on the cake of a venue’s overall design. With a past life in fashion, Felicity Rodgers launched work-wear brand Cargo Crew in 2012 as a response to the cookie-cutter hospitality uniforms that often favour function over design. You may have already spied the company’s aprons on the hair stylists at an Edwards & Co salon, custom-painted with a patina of dye and bleach. Or the aprons at our Broadsheet Restaurant, which are inspired by the clean lines and premium fabrics of Japanese street-wear.

For Rodgers, a well-made, contemporary uniform is all in the detail. It needs to respect both form and function while enhancing brand identity. “A uniform further amplifies a venues visual identity,” explains Rodgers. “Besides the practical side of ensuring the staff is easily identifiable, uniforms play an integral role in the theatre of creating a memorable dining experience.”

All of that got us to thinking: Which bars and restaurants around Sydney have their staff members in uniforms that make us take a second look?

Da Orazio by Ten Pieces
Few know that Sydney restaurateur Maurice Terzini also runs a small-scale fashion label with partner Lucy Hinkfuss. While the duo designs uniforms for Icebergs and The Dolphin Hotel, Da Orazio is where Terzini’s style comes through most. A contemporary take on the traditional pizzaioli (pizza chef) uniform, the sporty, all-white ensembles fit in effortlessly with the Bondi Beach style. “For Da Orazio we were after a hassle-free, unisex uniform that embodied the bright sense of speed and energy in the room,” says Terzini, also a co-owner of Da Orazio. “We also like the freshness and invisibility of an all-white uniform.”

Della Hyde by Cargo Crew
Since meeting Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll of Applejack Hospitality during a Sydney pop-up event, Cargo Crew has been outfitting several of the group’s venues, including dive bar Della Hyde. In a sea of pastel pink and green, reminiscent of the fictitious Grand Budapest Hotel, you’ll spot the staff at in a muted pairing of checkers and charcoal. The Henry Bib Apron features a new-meets-old-world, vintage-look fabric and adjustable PU leather straps.

Bar Brosé by Worktones
Walk the length of Bar Brosé and you’ll find yourself amid a sea of blue. There are stone-coloured dinner plates, cerulean-washed floors and midnight-leather menus. But it doesn’t end there. Finding the perfect shade of navy to marry with the rest of the fit-out proved to be a process of back and forth between the Brosé team and specialist workwear label Worktones. “At Worktones we use a 100 per cent drilled-cotton fabric. It’s comfortable, durable and looks natural and neat in such a fresh workspace,” explains creative director Huw Bennett. “From there, we workshopped a number of colours through dye tests to come up with a shade that complemented the current fit out.”

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Stanbuli by Retrospect
All coiffed hair, bow ties and full circle skirts, the staff at Stanbuli looks more like it walked off the floor of a 1950s dancehall than a restaurant’s front of house. Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joe Valore, the rockabilly duo behind Porteño, have carried their trademark style through to their latest venture by sidestepping the traditional work-wear route. The New Look swing dresses and high-waisted pants have been pulled straight from the racks of vintage-inspired store, Retrospec’d.