Crawling with style
You’ve heard the one about the pirate walking into a bar, but what happens when there’s a pirate behind the bar? As it turns out, a lot of fun is had by all.
Pirate Pete, or Peter Groom, is the owner of The Angry Pirate, one of the many small bars popping up in Redfern. The city fringe suburb, which was once considered a no-go zone, has turned into a happening food hub, with small bars, hipster cafes and new eateries opening up.
You’ve got Three Williams café with its signature narnies, naan bread sandwiches, Moon Park and its fine dining take on modern Korean and the live music at Arcadia Liquors on a Sunday, all a short stroll from one another.
So when Groom was looking for a location for his bar, Redfern ticked all the boxes.
“I’m originally from London and saw how areas such as Shoreditch and Bethnal Green that were down came back up,” he says.
“I wanted to do the same thing for this area. Redfern still has a community feel, people say hello to you and it’s been a real pleasure being recognised as the Angry Pirate.
“It feels good not just being a faceless bar.”
The Angry Pirate is part of a Redfern food crawl from Guerilla Eats, the same guys that bought you Sydney Interactive Theatre. The idea is that you visit three venues in a suburb, which gives you a feel for the neighbourhood and what it offers.
It starts at the Angry Pirate where you get a cocktail and a pizza between two as an entrée.
“We really liked the idea of being part of a crawl,” Groom says.
“People can come and meet your crew and feel like a part of it. One of the things we really need to happen is for all of the bars in this area to get exposure and this is a perfect way of trying something new at a couple of different bars, you can get a feel of the whole area rather than just one place.”
The Angry Pirate
125 Redfern St, Redfern, theangrypirate.com.au
Guerilla Eats founders Ben Phillips and Daniel Harris were inspired by a progressive dinner at The Argyle, where you visited four of their venues over the course of an evening.
“I thought why couldn’t independent venues do it?” Harris says.
“You can stop off at different venues and discover each one along the way.”
The Redfern tour costs $75 and includes a cocktail and pizza at The Angry Pirate, a main dish and glass of wine at Pitt St Diner and a cocktail at The Dock. It’s a self-guided tour, follow the supplied map, with each venue expecting you.
“It wasn’t hard to get the venues on board,” Phillips says.
“We wanted to include the independent places so owners can showcase what they do. They’re cool places, with a good vibe that people are going to enjoy.”
Guerilla Eats also offers tours around Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Glebe and are looking to branch out to new areas.
“We’re focusing on indie suburbs and quirky areas that have an up and coming food scene,” Harris says.
“You can’t just have one good venue in an area, it needs to be a hub.”
Liana Rayner, 23, from Bangor is a fan of the concept.
“I like that you get to see three different places in one night and the fact that it’s an area I wouldn’t have normally gone to,” she says.
“I never go out in Redfern, so this brings me to a new area and out of the Shire.”
With its pressed metal ceiling and graphic black and white stripped wall covering, Pitt St Diner has a completely different vibe from The Angry Pirate.
Chef and owner Gary Prebble has created a neighbourhood bistro with a Southern European menu.
Choose from four of five mains, including pasta, steak and frites or barramundi and a glass of wine. With mains around the $20-$30 mark and wines about $12 a glass, it represents great value
“I liked the idea of people coming from different areas and seeing Redfern,” Prebble says.
“Some people think it’s still a very risky area, but it’s not. It has an almost rural vibe, especially during the day, and feels like a country town because everyone knows each other. This way people get a chance to see it and try different places. It’s a great concept.”
Jacqui Bull, 24, from Bondi agrees.
“I like the abundance of food, the price is very reasonable for all the food and drink you get and it’s fun exploring a new area I wouldn’t have found before,” she says.
Pitt St Diner
96 Pitt St, Redfern, pittstdiner.com.au
Lucky last is The Dock, the first small bar that opened in the area.
Daniel O’Leary and Jed Clarke set up shop three years ago, before anyone else spotted Redfern’s potential.
“I just felt like there was an energy here even though it was a bit run down,” O’Leary says.
“This is the kind of bar that you could come into on your own and leave having made friends. It’s very community oriented. Everybody feels comfortable here, it’s like a house party every night, sometimes a really big messy one and sometimes an intimate one.”
Early in the week it has a chilled vibe with live music while Friday and Saturday are more raucous, with 90’s hip hop blaring and bartender Romain Duquesne developing a reputation for taking off his shirt to Nelly’s Hot in Here and dancing on the bar towards the end of the night.
“This tour is amazing for Redfern, it’s currently an up-and-coming destination and it’s a really positive coup for local businesses,” O’Leary says.
“It’s so good that people are attracted to the area.”
82 Redfern St, Redfern
Redfern Food Crawl, various venues, Redfern; Tuesday-Sunday, from 6pm, $75, guerillaeats.com.au
This story was first published in The Daily Telegraph’s Best Weekend Magazine on Jul 5, 2014