Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD will get a proper tavern this November, and it’s apt to be quite British. It’s called The Duke of Clarence and it’s inspired by 19th century England.
Created and led by Mikey Enright and Julian Train, the world-class team behind multi award-winning gin bar The Barber Shop, this rather fancy tavern will offer a quintessentially British experience in the heart of Sydney.
The Duke of Clarence has been designed in collaboration with famed UK set designer Sara Mathews (Moulin Rouge, Ned Kelly). The team have meticulously scoured the UK for furniture to ensure the experience is as authentic as possible, finding many original pub items over 100 years old. The building materials have been sourced from pubs, churches and warehouses around England, with the lights, panelling, and stained glass all making their way across the Indian Ocean. And the floorboards date back to the 1850s. Marvellous chaps!
“Everyone asks me what I miss most about England, and my answer is always ‘a proper pub’”, says Mikey Enright, who hails from Liverpool. “This is everything I’ve ever wanted in a pub; a real English boozer where reading the paper over a pint is as welcome as a round of extra dirty martinis. It’s going to have great tunes, perfect lighting and enough spirits to keep the most distinguished ladies and gents satisfied.”
Nestled in the hidden alleyway behind The Barber Shop, the exterior will be warmly lit, with Victorian-tiled walls, flowers hanging from the ceiling and aged timber stairs welcoming guests into the venue. The pièce de résistance at the entrance will be a painting of the pub’s namesake and mascot, the Duke of Clarence. Inside will reveal a 12-metre-long timber bar, with oak wood panelling and stained glass, library corner and fireplace.
The Duke of Clarence will offer a comprehensive and diverse drinks selection, including a 500-strong line-up of spirits from the British aisles. Beer will be served from ornate beer taps sourced from England, with a heavy focus on cask ale.
“The Clarence is a homage to the days gone by”, says Enright. “But we want it to feel as fresh and forward-thinking as it is nostalgic, so the drink will very much reflect this”.
Guests can expect classic cocktails, treated with Victorian-era twists or rotovapped with ingredients that were used during the time of Charles Dickens.
The Duke of Clarence will also serve a classic pub cuisine, with a clear British sensibility. The team have engaged consultant and fellow-Liverpudlian David O’Brien (ex Merivale) to create the menu, drawing on his cherished memories growing up around pubs in Northern England.
The tavern is named after the Duke of Clarence, who went on to become King William IV, monarch of England. His reign saw several powerful reforms – the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all the British Empire, and the British electoral system was refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Clarence Street was named after him, and now, he even has a Sydney pub in his honour.
The Duke of Clarence opens mid-November. Further details and the opening date will be announced in due course.