Historic Woolloomooloo pub, Woolly Bay Hotel, reopens with Mediterranean-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant

Revamping and re-opening a pub that has been an integral part of Sydney’s hotel scene since the 1800s is not easy. Owner Laundy Hotels (Quarrymans Hotel) straddled the need to pay homage to the pub’s colorful history while reimagining the space for contemporary punters. And it turned out to be a success – the $14 million redesign has already been shortlisted for the Eat Drink Design Award 2022.

When reimagining the pub, creative director of Laundy Hotels Justine Laundy and Sydney architecture firm Luchetti Krelle (Joan, Pavilion of Bathers, Bopp & Tone) is inspired by the hotel’s beachfront location and the Mediterranean, with blue mosaic tiles, terrazzo, and pebble gray terry paint by hand.

The Woolly Bay Hotel experience begins in the public bar on the ground floor, a cozy lounge-like room with floor-to-ceiling patio doors opening to views of the waterfront and harbor at -of the.

Upstairs is Arturo’s, a new casual 100-person restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Jamie Gannon of Laundy Hotels and Chef Adam Holt. Gannon and Holt designed the Mediterranean-influenced menu around the richness of Australian produce. Gannon says most of the menu was created during last year’s lockdown and inspired by the hotel’s new layout.

“The bones of the menu were written and tested in my home kitchen during the second lockdown,” says Gannon Large format. “It was actually a really nice experience to have the time to be able to do this. Instead of focusing on just one…the cuisine, I’ve crafted the menu to inherit the best of Italian, Greek and French cuisines, so we’re able to offer a range of different dishes.

Small plates include kingfish crudo with lemon oil and cucumber; Vannella burrata with tomato and sweet herbs; and a lobster roll garnished with chives and smoked salmon pearls. Heavier options are made for sharing: there’s a 12-hour braised shoulder of lamb with oregano, lemon, and garlic; a bistecca alla fiorentina of 800 grams; and a whole butterfly market fish in butter.

“We rely heavily on local producers – using Australian and local produce is really important to me and [the group’s] holistic food philosophy,” says Gannon. “We use a variety of suppliers and growers from New South Wales, particularly from the Nepean and Hawkesbury areas, who are local to our sister restaurant, Sinclair’s [in Penrith].”

Upstairs is the crowning glory: Arturo’s Rooftop, a bar surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with a terrace and views of the city skyline, harbor and Art Gallery of NSW. An earthy palette of warm oranges and white mosaic tabletops, plus lush plants and ceramic jugs combine with a Europe-tinged cocktail list – including the Naples Nectar (rum, Cynar, liqueur of Fiorente elderflower, lime juice, orgeat syrup) and the Zephyr (dry vermouth, sherry, olive bitters, lemon bitters) – to transport guests to the Mediterranean. Sharing plates such as a jaffle of pork rillette and potato scallops with tarama and caviar bring Australian flavor to classic European cuisines.