Just weeks after announcing the purchase of the Newport Arms, Merivale is at it again. This time the hospitality group has gone west, snapping up Enmore Road’s Queen Victoria Hotel. The purchase marks the group’s first foray into the inner west.
“We’ve being looking at the Newtown/Enmore area for a while now. I love what’s going on over there. The area has a great village feel with a great mix of people,” says Hemmes. “I went to dinner at Emma’s about six months ago, and thought it was just fantastic. The area’s on the up and it’s got great demographics,” he says.
Merivale takes possession of the venue at the end of this month and, much like with the Newport Arms, will move cautiously with putting its own stamp on the pub. “The Queen Victoria is a good-sized pub, so there's lots of scope to do different things. We’ll do a small-scale renovation; we’ll move slowly again.”
The pub’s food offering will be led by chefs Patrick Friesen and Christopher Hogarth from Papi Chulo. They have also spent time at other Merivale venues, including Mr Wong, Ms G’s, Work In Progress and El Loco. The menu will feature Cantonese street food-inspired fare, designed for quick, casual feeds. Friesen and Hogarth recently travelled to Hong Kong for inspiration.
Among the local business owners Broadsheet has spoken with, early reports of Merivale’s move have been met with optimism. “I have known and followed Justin Hemmes since I came to Australia 18 years ago,” says Ray Reilly of the Henson in Marrickville. “I think what they have achieved so far in Sydney as a group is without equal. And they’re at the top of the field in their food and beverage operations. I have being trading in this area for nearly two years and I think [Merivale’s arrival] is further proof of where the inner west is at,” he says.
A Merivale-owned Queen Victoria will join a bustling Enmore Road strip, already home to drawcards such as the Cow and the Moon gelato shop, American diner Hartsyard and the stately Enmore Theatre. “The location across the road from the Enmore is amazing. Enmore just goes off these days. You go down there on a Monday night and there are just people everywhere.”
The new Merivale-owned Queen Victoria Hotel is slated to open in June.