The Grounds in Alexandria with its wonderful casual dining experience that brings families and the local community together has been a source of inspiration for many hospitality outlets across Australia, including dozens of clubs and pubs since it opened five years ago.
Now, the team behind this wildly popular location has created a brand new offering in the heart of the Sydney CBD. The Grounds of the City is located at The Galeries, 500 George Street and is a complete departure from their Alexandria model.
The new venue harks back to the old days of the city, with old-school service, cake trolleys and shoe shines while you wait. The Grounds co-founder and creative director Ramzey Choker. “We really got inspired by the 1920s, a time when the inner city was a place for real social gathering and connection between professionals.”
It draws inspiration from traditional coffeehouse culture, complete with The Barista’s Bar, an area fitted with state-of-the-art espresso and filter technology highlighting The Grounds’ house-roasted coffee and roastery.
Design studio Acme & Co. have again worked with The Grounds, creating a truly ‘spare no details’ kind of space, from the antique theatre pendant lighting, up-cycled timber floors and marble details to the hand-crafted stained glass windows and custom-made enamel fridge doors. Even the light fixtures have been carefully curated and the cast iron doors were actually hand-casted by The Grounds team. “The building took a lot of craftsmanship and is going to be really different than what you’re used to,” says Choker.
Food-wise, executive chef Paul McGrath’s team will be doing breakfast (7am-11.30am) and all-day menus (11.30am onwards) with late trading on Thursday evenings, and late opening hours on Fridays and Saturdays coming soon. The menu features the likes of house-made crumpets and cakes, alongside ethically and sustainably-caught seafood and premium steak cuts — and you can dine-in or take away.
For next-level service, the new member’s app allows customers to let The Grounds get to know them a bit better – from where they work to their favourite coffee order, which will be ready for you on arrival. “When corporate workers come for a morning coffee we want to make their time pleasurable and really get to know them as individuals,” says Choker. “We want to give them something a bit extra.”
“We want to create a place that becomes like a city home away from the office and somewhere you want to go that is just really comfortable. It’s going to be really different, really unique and really special.”
The Grounds of the City is open inside The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney. Opening hours are Monday to Wednesday, Friday to Sunday 7am-6pm, Thursday 7am – late. Late Friday and Saturday hours coming soon. For more information, visit thegroundscity.com.au.
Sources: The Hospitality Magazine, Concrete Playground, Broadsheet, Photography: Steven Woodburn