Talk to us about your start in the Hospitality industry, and what is it that ultimately led you to The East Village Sydney.
I grew up living in pubs to Publican parents, mainly in Adelaide. Living onsite I guess the surroundings become engrained in your soul! I literally poured my first beer at 8 years old, helped in the bottle shops putting stock away as a teenager. The distinct smells of beer fresh and stale, the cellar, the front bar all evoke memories of a lifetime. As hard as I tried, I think my career path was inevitable - it’s in my blood.
I came to Sydney in the late 2000’s and after a few different jobs began working for James Miller who headed up the then Drink n Dine group as they pioneered the dive bar pub scene of Redfern & Surry Hills. Within 3 months I was GM of their first pub and not long after bought a share and ran their 3rd pub the Forresters. I finished up in 2014 and started my own business Goodtime Hospitality with James Bodel. East Village Sydney is the second pub we have owed & operated with more coming in 2020.
What does a typical day look like to you?
Early wake ups courtesy of my beautiful son Oskar, coffee while my wife & I make him & his sister Ella brekkie then day care drop offs opposite the pub. Then its generally office time for me. We are small & boutique, so I have my hand across it all - food development, wine tasting, beer selections; it’s all hard work!
How would you describe your personal style?
I live in basics, so I guess my style is casual. I wear suits to weddings & funerals, so dressing up usually involves high quality slacks or chinos with a t-shirt and a cracking blazer. I love quality leather shoes & sneakers.
What three items would you consider your most essential wardrobe staples?
Black cotton / bamboo t-shirt, chinos, blazer
A general portion of the population consider a few drinks at the pub to be a great way to unwind; given that this is your place of business; what do you do to relax?
More often than not I do the same, the pub becomes an extension of your social life, but it does get a bit much from time to time. I try and train and run as much as possible and find that mentally therapeutic. And definitely in recent years zoning out on podcasts & audio books can be very relaxing.
Nothing beats a few beers on the rooftop in the Summer. Recently there has been a major surge in craft beers; do you agree and to what do you contribute this rise in both popularity and accessibility?
Beer is undoubtedly etched in Australian culture. Craft beer is providing an interesting journey and conversation vehicle in pubs as everyone has their preference. The big staple brands no longer have the lion share of sales, so it is great to see the depth of the craft brewing industry. It shows no signs of slowing down and if the USA is anything to go by then one would assume there is plenty more growth to be had in Oz. Cheers to that!
Now that Sydney has recently lifted the lockout laws; how do you think this will impact Sydney’s hospitality industry as a whole?
It can only be good for the night life scene. The lock outs were such a blanket method, it literally wiped out the late night, nightlife scene completely. Almost half a generation of young people consequently partied differently, at house parties and boozeless raves. It will take a while in an adjustment period but luckily some of Sydney’s best operators braved the lock outs during the period and still opened amazing venues. Hopefully all the bars can trade better, and the growth will flow through & the city can be vibrant moving forward. Sydney needs to move to be a 24hour city and the CBD needs to be the focal point of that to keep up with international cities. Hopefully this is the start of it and fingers crossed my kids will enjoy that – because we certainly didn’t.
Talk to us about East Village Sydney & it’s philosophy. There are three unique areas to the hotel, talk us through each level and what sets each zone apart from the next.
The hotel is the little pub that could. Small in footprint and capacity (and hours) but we punch well above our weight. With 3 distinct trading floors we designed each space so the punter can experience our offering in multiple ways. With 3 very different spaces we think that will lead to always having something interesting to offer on any given day.
The Public Bar is the locals hang. It has a string wine game and most of our beer is sold here too. We focus on quality local and international wines always with plenty of quirky additions to keep our return customers on our toes. Work lunches and beers on the street by day and dance floor and DJs by night.
The Athletic Club is our lux sports bar. Designed to be the ultimate space to watch sport. Leather booths, big screens you can control with your own fox remote, pagers to get table service at the touch of a button, we have thought of all the little things to make the experience premium. What started out word of mouth now becomes a hotly contested race to book a booth for every major sporting event. It’s an awesome room.
The crown atop the building The Terrace Bar. A rooftop paradise that we uniquely theme seasonally every 3 months. With sweeping views of the city it is the place to be. Most of the space is open air with retractable roof, umbrellas, fans & misters to battle any of the elements. We sell sunglasses, provide sunscreen, have branded phone chargers again it’s the little things that set the experience apart. Cocktails flow freely with additions of slushies, tap beers, cocktail jugs and tapas style share plate food. Once you get up the 122 stairs you never want to leave.
What’s next for Locky Paech, what’s coming up on the horizon?
There is plenty in the pipeline for 2020. I can’t say much but it looks like at least one new project which is always exciting, but there could be more so that can get a bit scary! With two little ones it’s a big balancing act but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I will hopefully run my first marathon this year then have a big birthday with the fam in NYC later in the year.
Two for the road…
1. What are you reading?
‘GUT’ by Guilia Enders which is about, well… your gut. Very informative and gross at the same time.
2. What are you listening to?
The post humous Mac Miller album ‘Circles’. Very, very good.
Locky Paech is styled in Farage - Shop the looks here.
Photoshoot location: East Village Sydney