Note: Watson's officially opens at 11.30am on Monday, October 11 after Sydney's restrictions are eased. The first 100 customers through the doors will score a free schooner of beer to celebrate.
There are any number of reasons you may have headed out to the Entertainment Quarter in the past, but if you found yourself thirsty while you were in this relatively isolated corner of town, there was really only one option for a casual bevvie. PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub was a longstanding choice for a beer before a gig at the Hordern, a spritz after a show at Max Watts, or a meeting point under the massive Moreton Bay fig trees that guard the pub when Cirque du Soleil or Magic Mike Live were pitching a tent.
However, on your next visit to Moore Park, it won't be PJ's quenching your thirst. This tired old haunt has undergone quite the glow-up while the rest of us were in lockdown. The venue, to be known as Watson’s from here on out, has received a million-dollar facelift after being taken over by Michael Watson (Wats On Events) and business partner, West Tigers director, Danny Stapleton.
In line with current public health orders, the venue is gearing up to open the doors to its first customers on Monday, October 18.
The new owners are promising a whole new vibe, with a press release stating: “Saying goodbye to the once dark and dated venue with almost every element having undergone a complete overhaul, including the two alfresco spotted gum decks in the beer garden, home to a courtyard bar and a four-metre mega screen, perfect for catching all the sporting action with a schooner in hand.”
During the day, you can expect acoustic performances on the sun-drenched decks, and after the 2.5 million fairy lights adoring the fig trees twinkle to life, you can explore the main bar, bistro, and event space on level one.
The new kitchen is headed by Uriel Kilala, former head chef of Martin Place Bar, and will focus on traditional pub fare. The majority of the menu will be made in house and will feature pickles, preserves and sauces using seasonal and local produce, highlighting local suppliers like Vic’s Premium Quality Meats. Meanwhile, the bar is packing a solid beverage offering, featuring a variety of (majority Australian) wines, a vast selection of craft, international and Australian beers bottled and from the 32 taps. The cocktail list features all the classics.
It’s a new era for the Entertainment Quarter. Catch you there for a bevvie.