After two years of whispers, there’s finally a solid opening date for The Grounds of the City. It’s slated to arrive at the end of May.
Since The Grounds of Alexandria opened in 2012, it has become a powerhouse on Sydney’s ever-expanding cafe scene. It’s one of our most visited pages on Broadsheet. This is the institution’s first expansion into the CBD.
The new venue will occupy a 300-square-metre space on George Street in the Galeries, right opposite the QVB.
For the co-founder and creative entrepreneur behind The Grounds, Ramzey Choker, it’s been a long time coming. “This site has been in the planning stages for two years. We’re looking back in time to the 1920s for inspiration; from the craftsmanship that went into the coffeehouses of the day,” says Choker.
Owing to its size, The Grounds of the City will be far more intimate than the Alexandria site. Old-fashioned touches include a shoeshine service and a roaming, custom-made cake trolley.
The interiors have been taken care of by Acme & Co, led by Architect Vince Alafaci and Choker’s own sister Caroline, who also designed the original Grounds and the Potting Shed. Details include salvaged timber floorboards, marble fittings, handcrafted stained glass and antique theatre pendant lights.
“The Grounds is all about beauty and detail, not just polished concrete. Everything [at the city venue] is custom made. It’s a test for us to create something different, but still part of The Grounds’ family,” says Choker.
The group executive chef at The Grounds, Paul McGrath, will drive the open-plan kitchen, which will feature all-day, brasserie-style food that will flow from breakfast to dinner. Takeaway will also be an option.
A “Barista’s Bar” will involve “coffee sommeliers” who will guide guests through individual coffee experiences. Choker says the idea was inspired by the genius bars in Apple stores. More than $100,000 has been spent on state-of-the-art coffee equipment so you know the quality of coffee will remain.
The Grounds of the City will open in late May 2017.