Now Open: The Hook Is Kings Cross' New Retro Oyster and Cocktail Saloon by the Duo Behind Vermuteria

Renowned hospitality duo David and Amy Spanton have opened the doors to their new 80s-inspired passion project in Izgara and Harajuku Gyoza's previous location.
Nishika Sharma
Published on May 24, 2024

Get shucking — The Hook, a brand-new oyster bar and cocktail joint, is taking over Izgara and Harajuku Gyoza's old digs in Kings Cross. This new, 80s-leaning venture from Dave and Amy Spanton — the crew behind Piccolo Bar and Vermuteria — hopes to reinvigorate the former excitement surrounding the world of oysters that its predecessor, Bayswater Brasserie, was known for.

Opening its doors on Thursday, May 23, the sleek newcomer to Bayswater Road has seen the hospitality greats turn their attention to cocktails, oysters and jazz piano tunes. Dave Spanton, in particular, has spent the last three months prior to opening transforming the spot.

"Our aim is to create an atmosphere that feels like it's been part of the community for half a century," said Dave.

The team helming the ambitious venue also includes Mike Delany (Vermuteria, Piccolo Bar, Cafe Freda'sClub 77 and The Abercrombie) and Michael Perelini (ex-The Lobo) who'll be in charge of The Hook's front-of-house operations.

"This has been a much bigger undertaking for us from a business perspective, with more staff and more behind-the-scenes management," said Amy. "It's really exciting to be working on a bigger venue with a bigger team and doubling down on our vision to make Kings Cross great again."

This passion project from the Spantons spans 250 square metres with a sleek horseshoe bar in the centre. The space is adorned with art and antiques collected by Dave from his international travels. The saloon-style venue also incorporates stylistic influences from dive bars across the US, as well as the bars of Ireland, Scotland and England, with its green colour scheme and whisky- and Guinness-led drinks list.

Much like the venue, the drinks list boasts an array of the founders' favourites. Expect nostalgic-leaning cocktails, coastal whiskies, beer on tap or in tins, and bubbles in the selection.

"Highlights for me include the 1940s Hurricane, a throwback to the original New Orleans recipe, served in a hurricane glass, and the Black Velvet, Guinness and sparkling wine," said David. "We are also doing our French 75 in the traditional way – with Champagne, not prosecco – it's delicious."

As for bites, the menu is nautically inspired, with the option of freshly shucked oysters or four variations of grilled oysters. Plus, there'll be meals familiar to a saloon space, from smashed patty burgers to LP's dive dogs that you can load up with your fill of sauce.

To secure a spot at The Hook, you'll want to head in early or plan ahead. The venue has a no-booking policy and accepts walk-ins only.

You'll find The Hook at 13-15 Bayswater Road in Kings Cross, open from 5pm–12am Wednesday–Saturday and 5–10pm on Sunday. 

Image credit: Christopher Pearce

Published on May 24, 2024 by Nishika Sharma
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