After decades optimising iconic Sydney pubs, acclaimed operator Gerard Dore has bought into The Salisbury with plans to apply his laid-back hands-on approach.
Most recently known for the sweeping turnaround of Arthur Laundy’s landmark Steyne Hotel in Manly, Dore has spent the past year consulting for assorted Sydney hotels and furthering his relationship with Manly-based craft beer eminence 4 Pines.
Gerard Dore and wife Trish have partnered with a private family wanting to invest in hospitality, for the freehold going concern of Stanmore’s The Salisbury – taking possession today.
Speaking with PubTIC, Dore says he’s moved in to the grand old art-deco building, to “kick around” for a while before they decide how to proceed.
“I’m more of a pub mechanic than a developer,” he suggests.
“I want to kick around and look at every corner and angle for a while, and by the start of February we should pretty much know where we are, and can sit down with the family.”
Dore suggests the pub has “a bit of everything” and believes it has a great part to play in the inner-west hospitality scene – located on a corner opposite Stanmore Station.
“I feel you need to create ‘what the suburb does’ and not fall into the trap of copying other successes. There’s too much of that these days.
“It’s a gorgeous community hotel, with a kind of Irish way about her. Trish really likes the idea of a real community pub.
“There’s no late licence, but f&b will succeed here.
“With 22 rooms above, accommodation is definitely in the plan. I think having residents adds atmosphere, and of course natural patronage. It’s close to everything, so we’re aiming for 80 per cent occupancy.”
Another firm idea is to revive an old Church-style room at the rear.
Dore believes the right planning and forethought – aiming for a “timeless” look that suits the building – greatly increases the life of the fitout and saves money following trends.
Having “re-mortgaged the house to the hilt” the Dores will now have the opportunity to benefit directly from their accumulated wisdom. Trish, who has previously run venues such as Bondi’s Beach Road, will oversee day-to-day operations.
“I think that’s the real difference between chains and independent venues: what the small operator may lose in business strength, is paid back in soul.
“We fell in love with the old building. I couldn’t do a pub just as a business – I have to love it.
“Worst case scenario, have to move in, and we’d be happy to live here!”
Planning to keep sections trading throughout the strategic renovations, Dore lauded nearby makeovers such as the Henson Park Hotel and West Village (formerly White Cockatoo), and believes if there’s a secret to his own successes it would be his hands-on philosophy.
“I’m not very smart … I can’t explain what I do!”