This South Eveleigh bar is housed in a heritage site that spent 100 years as a locomotive workshop.
Bars and restaurants are increasingly taking sustainability into their own hands: from championing ethical suppliers and sustainable produce, to adopting the do-it-yourself farm-to-table approach from the likes of Three Blue Ducks and Acre. The latest hospitality venture pushing towards a more environmentally-friendly future is new Sydney bar, Re which was announced late last year and has now launched in the new South Eveleigh food and drink precinct with hospitality stars Matt Whiley (Scout) and Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Ciccia Bella) at the helm.
In creating Re, Whiley set himself the ambitious task of creating a blueprint for other venues to follow — creating less waste and having minimal impact on the environment. The bar is housed in a heritage site that spent 100 years as a locomotive workshop and has been built from recycled materials — the central bars and tables are created from recycled bottles and tupperware, structural features are made from plastic bags and milk bottles, and the wooden finishing is sustainably sourced.
"Yes Re is built on waste, but it's this really incredible, refined space with heritage character," says Whiley. "We want to change people's expectations of what low-waste means, and encourage others to build and operate this way."
Since opening, the South Eveleigh spot has also added an outdoor terrace, featuring large sun shades for warm summer days and thick blankets ready for winter. The area has been decked out in native flora with the help of Jiwah, the First Nations-run company who have created and maintained the South Eveleigh precinct's rooftop farm and community garden.
While the venue has a subdued, no-frills aesthetic with exposed brick walls and muted colours, the menu is full of the fun and vibrant drinks Whiley is known for — but with a continuing emphasis on reducing waste. Patrons will find some of Sydney's best bartenders in Evan Stroeve (Bulletin Place), Jake Downe (This Must Be The Place, Scout London) and Ho Song (Cantina OK, PS40) behind the bar, and the drinks menu consists of distinct twists on classic cocktails and botanical-heavy spritzes, all served in reclaimed Maison Balzac glasses.
Among the classics, you'll find a nectarine and vetiver negroni ($21) or a white truffle martini served with olive leaf ($24). Many of the revolving rotation of drinks pair unique flavours with a focus on sustainable ingredients sourced from local suppliers and unwanted produce. Take the Orchard Gimlet ($21) for example, a Tanqueray cocktail that uses pink lady apples, eucalyptus, coconut and whey.
Stroeve, Downe and Song are also being encouraged to craft their own cocktail creations around continually changing themes. The opening intergalactic themed 'Re-search' menu includes the Mars, which heroes Bulleit bourbon, and also lists silicon, magnesium and iron among its ingredients — and the Milky Way, which pairs rum and cocoa butter with ethyl formate and aldehyde to create a multi-sensory experience.
The food is overseen by Alex Pritchard, head chef at Icebergs, and is full of luxe snacks designed to accompany your drinks while creating as little waste as possible. You'll find offal sausage served with salted onions on white bread ($16), eggplant ceviche ($15), koji marinated veal ($14) and house pickles ($8).