You've probably nibbled and tippled in the venues of one of Sydney's top hospitality groups — but you might not have known it was theirs. Started in 1976 in The Rocks with the Löwenbräu Keller, one of Sydney’s most profitable hospitality companies now serves up almost 40,000 meal a week across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. We're talking about UPG.
Urban Purveyor Group has been one of Sydney's leading restaurant groups for over four decades. They've brought 20 venues to life across the country, from Sake to The Argyle, and they don't appear to be slowing down any time soon. We chatted with the group’s director of sales and events Julie van der Weegen to see just what makes this company stand out from the crowd, and what must-see events we need to add to our calendars this Christmas.
SO WHAT BARS AND RESTAURANTS ARE ACTUALLY UPG?
If the UPG name doesn’t ring familiar, you've probably been a patron in one of their venues without knowing it. From Sake to The Argyle, Urban Purveyor Group are the hardworking crew behind some of Sydney’s premier restaurants, bars and event spaces. "Sake offers a taste of Tokyo, Ananas Bar & Brasserie delivers a touch of Parisian chic, Lowenbrau Keller offers a neverending Oktoberfest celebration, along with the Bavarian Bier Cafe's across the country. The Cut Bar & Grill gives a taste of an underground New York-inspired steak house, and of course The Argyle is the place to go if you want to party into the night," van der Weegen explains. One of Sydney's most celebrated contemporary sushi restaurants, Sake, nabs all the big names, counting the likes of Richard Branson, Chris Hemsworth and Justin Bieber as guest. They also just announced a new Italian concept to be named Stella along with a convenient on-the-go Sake sibling, aptly named Sake Jnr — both opening mid-2016 in George Street's redevelopment of Grosvenor Place.
NIGHTS YOU'D WANT TO REMEMBER
Over the years, UPG has thrown some pretty spectacular shingdigs, from The Argyle's Star Wars-themed dance party during Vivid to Sake's beloved annual Cherry Blossom festival. But they've also done some private events they're pretty proud of. "I think our recent event with Moet Hennessy was most certainly a memorable highlight, launching Moet Hennessy Private Events, a partnership with our catering division, Urban Events Venues & Catering,” says van der Weegen. "Guests were chauffeured to an opulent private home in Gordons Bay to experience the paired food and beverage offer including The Moet Ice White Party, Moet & Chandon So Bubbly Bath featuring a gold claw leg bath filled with 50 magnums right through to a Belvedere Vodka 'Know your Martini Masterclass'."
WHAT'S NEXT FOR UPG?
With the silly season fast approaching, UPG will be hosting "everything from small office gatherings with tailored degustation and matched wines, to sushi masterclasses with a whiskey tasting, right through to a grand celebration for over 2000 guests here in The Rocks," according to van der Weegen. The insider tip: get along to Sake for their festive ‘Pink Blossom’ cocktail (complete with choya umeshu, fresh strawberries, passionfruit, cranberry and freshly squeezed lime juice) and keep an eye out for their upcoming sushi making classes (guaranteed to give you skills that’ll really impress your pals and co-workers).
There's also a Christmas brunch coming up for Ananas, The Argyle is starting its own openair cinema in the historic courtyard (lounges and popcorn provided), alongside Femme Fatales fashion nights every Thursday. Suffice to say, UPG will be pretty busy over the festive season.