The manager of Cronulla’s new beachside bar, Old Joe’s, is so confident the venue will be a hit, he picked up and moved home to the Shire. “I was living in Potts Point for the last few years,” says Steve Lyon, former manager of Kit & Kaboodle and Ruby Rabbit. “I grew up down here, so I wanted to take those skills that I learned in the industry and bring them back home.”

Certainly, the face of the southern-Sydney suburb has transformed, with venues like The Old Library and Giro Osteria revitalising drinking and dining on the seaside strip. Lyon agrees Cronulla’s character is changing: “It’s come a long way,” he says. “We’re starting to step it up a notch.”

Old Joe’s is an attempt to raise the bar once again. Set right on the shorefront, next door to notorious nightspot, Northies, Old Joe’s aims for a more laid-back atmosphere. Named for a defunct corner store where all the grommets used to hang, Old Joe’s pays homage to the long-lost milk bar.

The fit-out, by interior designer Sibella Court, is ‘Hamptons-style with sorbet colours,’ replete with reclaimed wood, striped awnings and a longboard. “I wanted to make a relaxed fun place to hang out, straight from the beach, sand on your feet,” says Court, known for her work with New York brands Jo Malones and Bloomingdales. “I wanted it to be an extension of bringing the outside in.”

The menu sports American-style ribs, hot dogs and a lobster roll. “They’re traditional sambos, an Aussie icon, with an American-style twist,” explains Lyon. “We were playing around with the idea of “Southern Food”, but that can also be a bit of a play on words…”

Cocktails will be in keeping with the milk-bar theme, serving shared drinks in kettles, pre-batched RTD’s, ice-cream spiders, and a boozy milkshake with Ketel One vodka. For those not convinced by vodka and milk, a 20-long list of craft beers should do the trick.

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And, importantly, the music’s already sorted: “It’s not going to be really dance-y stuff,” says Lyon. “It’s going to be laid back, some old-school hip-hop.”

So, even if you’re not ready to move back to the Shire quite yet, at least there’s yet another reason to visit.

Old Joe’s
141-143 Elouera Road, Cronulla
(02) 9523 6866

Mon-Sat noon - late
Sun noon -10pm