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The History of Applejack
Coming up to our 10th birthday, we take a look back on the history of Applejack!
Creating Magic Experiences Together.
Founded in 2011, Applejack is a boutique Sydney based hospitality group established by Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll. Together the dynamic Sydney duo have a combined experience and expertise of over 40 years in the hospitality industry.
With a budding passion and desire to create their own distinct venues and take on the hospitality world, the two teamed up to create Applejack Hospitality! Ben and Hamish have opened and operated a number of successful restautants, bars and cafes over the years, as well as consulting on projects.
The first project they embarked on was Bondi Hardware and from there the business continued to grow, with the creation of 5 venues in their first 5 years of operation. Early in 2019, Applejack sold Bondi Hardware, and planned for further expansion.
Applejack currently owns and operates 8 restaurants, bars and cafés: The Botanist Kirriblli, SoCal Neutral Bay, The Butler Potts Point, Bopp & Tone, Tap Rooms, Forrester’s, Hester’s CBD and June’s Shoppe.
About to celebrate its 10 –year anniversary, Applejack is excited to continue to grow its legacy as a leading hospitality group.
Each venue has a unique story, with a distinct, design and experience! Find out the history of each venue here:
Situated in the heart of Kirriblli, the site pays homage to Gerard Fothergill, a well-travelled pioneer in the study of plants and spices. The Botanist has embraced Gerard’s legacy in the form of fine produce, exotic spices, the spirit of adventure and a thirst for knowledge. Fothergill’s travels throughout the world has inspired our worldly, flavourful menu and venue styling. Gerard is said to have spent his final years at the current site of The Botanist Kirribilli. One of the oldest Applejack venues, The Botanist is much loved by Kirriblli locals.
Located in Neutral Bay, SoCal has been a North Shore favourite for several years. Having travelled to California for a surf trip, Ben & Hamish ate and drank their way around the state and fell in love with the vibe, food and culture of the golden state. SoCal embodies this laid-back surf vibe, with a delicious Mexi-Cali menu.
The Butler is nestled amongst the street of Potts Point, unassuming from the outside, a tropical oasis lies inside. The venue honours the historic ‘Butlers Restaurant’ that occupied the site several years ago, paying tribute to its original structure, food and service style with a fresh flair. Juanita’s Bar is named after Potts Point legend Juanita Nielson, whose activism helped save the very building The Butler is located in. With panoramic views of Sydney city skyline from the terrace, exquisite Ibero-American cuisine and delicious cocktails, there’s a reason it is a favourite amongst Sydneysiders.
Bopp & Tone:
If you’ve ever been to Bopp & Tone and looked around the venue, you would have noticed the old photographs and styling features that showcase a nostalgic old Sydney. The Sydney CBD restaurant & bar is a tribute to the Applejack founders’ grandfathers, Keith ‘Bopp’ Evans and Anthony ‘Tone’ Adams. The venue reflects the luxurious and optimistic post WW2 era they lived in. Embodying everyday opulence and grandeur, with a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
Tap Rooms has a long and rich history as one of the oldest pubs in Sydney. Walk through the historic building and take in the heritage features, including stunning blue tiles, old time architecture and styling elements of the pubs colonial past. The Australian menu features a range of smoked meats and highlights Australian produce and pub favourites.
Since its establishment in 1921, Forrester’s has been an iconic local pub proudly serving the Surry Hills neighbourhood for almost 100 years. The recent renovations enhance the buildings century old original beauty, while also incorporating new timeless features and Applejack’s signature love of indoor plants! The menu features old favourites like the Monday $10 steak, as well as the new Latin inspired menu created by Head chef Laura Tello and the Butler’s Amber Doig.
Although Covid-19 has been a challenge, Applejack has proven its resilience and priority of taking care of its employees during tough times. Applejack continues towards enhancing its legacy as a leading Hospitality group in Sydney.