Meet the beating heart of Sydney: three local legends explain why the harbour city is the perfect choice for your next business event.
From a bird’s eye view, Sydney is a spectacular sight – white boats flitting across sparkling saltwater set against iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Up close Sydney is just as compelling, thanks to the colourful identities making it magical.
We spoke to the minds behind some iconic and noteworthy venues and experiences to discover what they love about our city – and their tips on how to host a unique business event.
For the foodies
Dan Hong's Mr Wong is the perfect choice for business event organisers looking for an ambient setting with a mouthwatering menu.
Sydney’s dining scene is anchored by its artisan local produce, the immigrants who pepper it with Asian and Mediterranean flavours and the inquisitive minds who continue to push culinary boundaries. One such mind is Dan Hong, the executive chef of Merivale’s award-winning restaurant Mr Wong (as well as Ms G’s and El Loco), who believes Sydney’s multiethnic identity is its strength, making it a clear winner for discerning business event organisers.
“The multiculturalism and diversity of the city is what makes Sydney. This has influenced the food, culture and nightlife in a very unique way,” he says.
For his menu at Mr Wong, which is inspired by Cantonese cuisine, Hong draws inspiration from the flavours of the city, and the local neighbourhoods offering authentic dishes and experiences. “[I love] Cabramatta and the suburbs surrounding because there’s a big Vietnamese community there and great Vietnamese cooking,” he explains. “I live in Haymarket so I spend a lot of time eating locally – mostly Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Korean food. Every now and then I like to go to the Lidcombe, Auburn [and] Lakemba area for authentic Middle Eastern food.”
When it comes to selecting Mr Wong for a business event, Hong believes its electric atmosphere sets it apart. “It’s one of those places that you can come on any occasion,” he says. “It’s a combination of great Chinese food, a great wine list, good service in an atmosphere that’s very unique [being] a former nightclub that you can only get through via an alleyway.”
Mr Wong offers business-event organisers great variety and outstanding service. The venue is split across two levels and can be found at 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney. It offers organisers the flexibility to seat an intimate gathering with a tailored menu, or a corporate function of up to 240 people. Visit merivale.com/mrwong for more information.
Craft brewing culture
Sydney’s craft movement began a thirst for locally-made liquor that’s seen a spike in the number of venues sporting boutique beers and spirits. According to co-founder and chief brewer at Young Henrys, Richard Adamson, this unflinching support of the city’s creative community – from art to music to food and drink – is what makes Sydney so special.
“Newtown is a place that has a whole range of new great music venues, it’s got a vibrant visual arts scene, so [Young Henrys] is right in the mix there in terms of where the creatives sort of work and play,” explains Adamson. “Our reason for being is the music and arts scene and working with the great venues and bars we have in Sydney.”
For Adamson, using his brewery to foster a creative, welcoming atmosphere is part of what makes his job so special – and a great place for those looking for a laidback location for their next staff party, eclectic brand launch or other corporate function. “It is a place for individuals and people to express themselves,” he says. “It isn’t pretentious and it’s a place where anyone can feel comfortable and hang out and enjoy. If you like good music and love a drink, it’s definitely the place for you.”
With so many spaces now stocking Young Henrys, Adamson likes to think that there’s no better place to be when it comes to venues and variety. “You’ve got a beautiful location and you've got the cultural aspect… Sydney competes on that level, as well as having great beaches, the harbour, the mountains, we've got beauty and creative elements as well.”
The Young Henrys brewery can be found at 76 Wilford Street, Newtown. The venue is open for corporate bookings of all sizes. Its punk atmosphere makes it an ideal choice for creative companies looking for an event space with authentic street style. Visit younghenrys.com for more information.
Connecting with Country
Tim Ella and his daughter Latoya Brown own and operate Kadoo Tours, a company dedicated to educating Australian people and businesses about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. They’re supported by business partner and historian Grant Hyde.
Australia is home to the oldest living culture on Earth and Sydney itself has a rich history dating back to the First Australians, who have inhabited this land for up to 120,000 years. According to Kadoo Tours’ Tim Ella, understanding this history by experiencing it for yourself is the only way to truly connect with Dharawal country, and create culturally competent businesses and workplaces.
“It's about teaching the respect we have for our land,” he explains from his home suburb of La Perouse, where Kadoo Tours operates its cultural awareness training for businesses. “People [need to learn how] to pay their respects to the land and the things that come from the land. It provides for us, it provides for everybody and it belongs to everybody, so we've got to respect it so it can be there for the next generation.”
For Ella and many others in the Indigenous community, La Perouse holds special significance. “La Perouse’s totem is a whale and we call that whale Guriwal,” he says. “At the moment there are a lot of whales travelling back down to the south Antarctic, travelling and carrying on our culture. La Perouse is special because it's got a lot of bush still – all natural bush, native plants. You can walk on the beach, you can always swim.”
By taking people on a trek into the past, Ella, Brown and Hyde are building awareness, respect and understanding with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the workplace and the community. Their cultural awareness training program features engaging and interactive ‘On Country’ and ‘Off Country’ components, and can be tailored to suit business' needs. Ella hopes that, once staff have toured with Kadoo, they’ll look upon the city in a very different way.
“Get an understanding of how we've been surviving – we’re the oldest continuing culture in the world and I'm proud of that,” he says. “We give information about the bush and the history and our stories. We always let people know that it belongs to them too. We want them to feel welcome.”
Kadoo Tours operates cultural awareness training in La Perouse for corporate groups of all sizes. Workshops aim to stimulate understanding, appreciation and empathy for Aboriginal people and their culture in order to build culturally competent workplaces. Visit kadootours.com.au for more information.