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Bars

The world’s first permanent bar built on waste

If the sustainability is your focus, it’s hard to beat Scout (London or Sydney) but Matt Whiley’s going to give it a try with his new venue, Re-

By: Tiff Christie|December 15,2020

The name Matt Whiley is pretty much synonymous with sustainability. Best known for pioneering the ethos at London’s Scout (which was also continued at the inner-city Sydney Scout bar as well), Whiley’s no-waste approach has been widely duplicated through bars world-wide.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Whiley is about to not only do it all again but this time push the limits even further with his new bar Re-. , Set to open in the newly-restored South Eveleigh precinct in Sydney in February, Re- is an inspiring collaboration between hospitality heavyweights Whiley and Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room & Bar; CicciaBella).

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Matt Whiley

Unlike Scout, Whiley and Terzini’s approach will see RE- built from the ground up to be one of the world’s best permanent bars built on waste, with the kind of drinks program Whiley has made a global name on, supported by Terzini’s signature tone and style.

While Scout was able to bring a sharp focus to local ingredients and sustainability, leading the way with drinks that preference innovation and taste while minimising waste, RE- will be designed to interrogating everything from the materials and glassware, to the light fittings, ingredients and garnishes, through to what goes in the bin.

The result is an approach to waste that is world-leading, with every facet of the bar considered from the lens of sustainability. Whiley’s ultimate ambition is for RE- to be the driver of a global movement that reframes how bars talk about and act on, sustainability and waste. More than anything, he wants to demonstrate how sustainability, flavour and enjoyment can, and should, go together.

“RE- is a cocktail bar, first and foremost – a place for people to hang out, have fun, and leave knowing they’ve enjoyed excellent service, good food and great drinks with their mates”, says Whiley. “But if you strip back the layers, you realise there is so much more at play here. We care about our environment, we care about people and we care about our future.”

Whiley continues: “Ultimately, the conversation in the industry can’t just be about shifting how you run a service, it’s completely changing how you dictate what comes through your door in the first place, and that extends to the furniture you use, how you build a menu, what produce you’re getting in, even what packaging it comes in. This is not about preaching what should be done, it’s about creating the platform to take the vital conversation around waste in hospitality forward”.

At RE-, Whiley will oversee a list of 8-10 changing signature cocktails. Built on diverted waste and leaning more twist than traditional, there will be a section of highballs and spritzes, as well as classics to get you started. All the drinks will showcase the kinds of innovative techniques he’s known for.

The bar will serve a range of toasties, flatbread and other bar snacks made with sustainable ingredients and reclaimed produce. “Just because it’s made from offcuts or seconds doesn’t mean it needs to be virtuous,” says Terzini.

The groundbreaking approach extends to the look and feel of the venue; an inspiring collaboration with independent creative production company, Alfred, that pushes the boundaries for sustainable design. Housed in a raw-brick heritage site at South Eveleigh, RE-’s arched windows will cast light on materials chosen for aesthetics as much as impact.

A central bar and tables resembling terrazzo are made from Re-Plas recycled bottles and Tupperware. Stairs – leading to a mezzanine for groups and masterclasses – and structural features are made from recycled plastic bags. Wood is sustainable, banquettes are clothed in pineapple-leaf fibre and elegant light fittings and wine coolers are made from mycelium. Phillipe Starck and Odger stools and chairs, meanwhile, are built from recycled and reclaimed materials.

Whiley says: “Never has this subject been more important. Food waste costs our economy $20 billion a year – more than five million tonnes of food ends up in landfill; one in five bags of groceries winds up in the bin. We have a responsibility to look hard at what we’re not using and find ways to make it desirable. At RE-, we’ll showcase this through our bar program, but also build a platform geared towards change on a global level. The time is now”.

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The world’s first permanent bar built on waste

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