Update, May 3 2024: Re will open in its new Cleveland Street corner spot on Tuesday May 14. Matt Whiley's developed a "classic-ish" drinks roster, plus a tight set of cocktails dedicated to saving waste from venues across Public Hospitality's stable. Whiley's also set up a cocktail lab in a neighbouring space that was once a barber shop.

Matt Whiley and his team have opened a lab, of sorts, in a neighbouring former barber shop, where everything for cocktails at Re is distilled, strained, saved and reimagined in house. All very mad scientist.

Matt Whiley has spent over a decade championing zero waste in the drinks space. His award-winning London bar Scout (now closed) brought him to Sydney in 2018 for a one-night-only pop-up at Icebergs. “It just snowballed from there,” Whiley tells Broadsheet.

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Whiley became a fixture in Sydney’s hospitality scene, with a yearlong Scout residency at The Dolphin, then the opening of Re in 2021. There, everything from the tabletops to the drinks were waste-busting. Wasting no time either, it came in at number 46 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list that same year. Since quietly calling last drinks at the end of February – when “a couple more” drinks were had behind the bar than normal, Whiley admits – rather than closing altogether, Re has moved: into the former La Salut space in Redfern.

The new Re – a venture with Public Hospitality – will have the same core values, but with a new spin. Cocktails will reflect venues in the Public stable (think Ricos Tacos, El Primo Sanchez, Derrel’s, Maybe Sammy and Busby’s), utilising ingredients currently treated as waste in each one. “It’s not the mantra of what Re has done in the past, which was more minimalistic,” Whiley says. Instead, it will be “more playful”.

Tomato water and focaccia will be saved from Busby’s, along with post-Margarita citrus husks from El Primo Sanchez. The magic is in the changing perspectives: “The tomato water that comes out of the tomato bread at Busby’s is actually one of the most tasty things ever – it’s not actually waste.”

Re’s move also marks Whiley’s entry into Public Hospitality as a partner, overseeing the group’s waste-reduction and sustainability efforts. It’s another big move for the group, which last year acquired the Maybe Sammy group and teamed up with Ricos Tacos’ Toby Wilson. In January, it acquired Greek restaurant Alpha, with ex-Masterchef judge George Calombaris just announced to lead a revamp.

Public split from the Love, Tilly Group in November 2023, seeing Catalan-inspired wine bar La Salut immediately close.

“Re runs through my veins,” Whiley says. “Making sure Re is as good as it can possibly be will always be at the forefront of my daily life. That won’t change. But I’m a busy guy – I’ll be getting my hands dirty in some other venues as well.”

Re is slated to open at 305 Cleveland St, Redfern, in April 2024.

@_wearere