Pocket bar’s Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux open their first Hills venture

Small restaurants and bars have exploded across Sydney in the past few years, and next month the first in the Hills will open its doors.

Pocket Group, who run the popular small venue Pocket Bar among others in Sydney, announced that a site on Old Northern Road at Castle Hill, near Dan Murphy’s, will be home to its newest venture, Crooked Tailor.

Pocket Group co-owners and directors Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux said the restaurant and bar would be similar to Pocket Group’s existing ventures around New South Wales, “with a strong focus on service, drinks and food in a relaxed atmosphere”.

“We want people to feel as though we’re welcoming them into our own homes where they can relax on comfy sofas while having a laugh and enjoying good quality food and drinks,” Mr Schlothauer said.

“The food menu will consist of soul-warming classics, while the cocktail list will be based on seasonal products which will be changed regularly with a large display of whiskeys.”

Mr Schlothauer and Mr Lehoux are busy renovating the site at 7/250 Old Northern Road themselves, with the aim to open the doors next month.

“With the fit out we like to make each of our bars a little unique so with Crooked Tailor we’ve got a few original elements like the handcrafted wooden optical illusion bar front, 15,000 US coins on the bar top, and pieces of coloured fabrics falling from the ceiling,” Mr Schlothauer said.

The venue will be split into three spaces including an indoor entrance styled with recycled garden furniture and plenty of plants, a main area with a long bar, booths and high tables, and a mezzanine space to be opened at a later date.

Crooked Tailor will be the sixth venue for the duo, who currently own Pocket Bar in Darlinghurst and Terrigal, Stitch Bar in the CBD, Button Bar in Surry Hills, and Lockwood in France.

Mr Schlothauer said the decision was made to open a restaurant and bar in Castle Hill after the pair noticed a gap in the local market for smaller venues.

“It’s a highly populated area with not really any similar venues so it’s a perfect fit for Pocket Group,” he said.

“We want to give a few more options to those living outside the city by bringing the small bar and restaurant culture to them.”

The move follows a decision from the Hills Shire Council last month to reduce red tape in a bid to make Castle Hill’s main street a “more attractive and desirable place” to open a cafe or restaurant.

The council voted to relax parking provisions for main street restaurants and cafes, along with a three-year extension of a free license period for outdoor dining areas.

“I want to see the Castle Hill Main Street become a major dining destination that attracts visitors to The Hills and helps to grow our local economy,” Mayor Andrew Jefferies said at the time.

Article written by Stacey Roberts, Hills Shire Times.

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