20/01/2020 - 10:29

Diverse offering fits the bill in Freo

20/01/2020 - 10:29

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Almost 10 months after it opened, Freo.Social has expanded its range to include a dining option with the addition of Beer.Kitchen, the venue’s new 22-item dining offering launched in mid-December.

Diverse offering fits the bill in Freo
Al Taylor says Freo.Social is spearheading Fremantle’s revival. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Entertainment venue Freo.Social is approaching its first anniversary, with the venue’s evolution running parallel to a revival in Fremantle.

Almost 10 months after it opened, Freo.Social has expanded its range to include a dining option with the addition of Beer.Kitchen, the venue’s new 22-item dining offering launched in mid-December.

The new menu serves as a replacement for the venue’s food trucks, which have been relocated to Myaree’s Otherside Brewing.

Believing the venue’s food offering needed as much attention as its entertainment and brewery line-ups, the venue has hired Garth Cleveland, former head chef of Young George, to oversee a menu redesign that incorporates the use of beer as integral elements to each meal.

That includes olives marinated in red ale, and sausages served with IPA beer mustard.

Chief executive of Triple-1-Three, the business behind Freo.Social, Al Taylor, told Business News the idea was to create meals that were representative of the care given to all the venue’s offerings.

“The people who’ve been coming have been looking for that, and so that’s why we set about planning what we were offering from a food perspective, and I think Matt [Marinich, group venue manager], Garth and Marty [Morgan, on-site butcher] have worked hard on developing an idea that’s true to the brand,” Mr Taylor said.

He explained the addition of a themed menu had been part of the venue’s attempt to move beyond its legacy as a live music destination and embrace the opportunity to appeal to a diverse audience.

“During the day we have schools use the hall for practising concerts, and we have people upstairs working in [startup] incubators,” Mr Taylor said.

“We’re trying to make it this multi-faceted destination.”

Having worked on the plan for Freo.Social for the past four years following the closure of previous tenant, Fly By Night, Mr Taylor said the group had focused on repositioning the venue as more than just an outlet for live musical performances.

Inspired by the history of the Artillery Drill Hall, the venue has integrated offerings from Triple-1-Three’s Otherside brewery to build a broader experience for patrons.

Triple-1-Three’s Otherside brewery

“What we really wanted to do was create a social destination that had a number of different experiences in it,” Mr Taylor said.

“We wanted to be clear about the fact it wasn’t just this one place for live music.

“That’s why we put a lot of work into establishing the brew shed and yard as a separate destination, so that people would come and treat it as a traditional craft brewery separate to the entertainment room.”

Reflecting on the venue’s performance since March last year, Mr Taylor said he believed Freo.Social was spearheading the revival of Fremantle.

“I think that Freo is absolutely about to lift,” he said.

“We’d been working on Freo.Social for about four years, and did a lot of work around what was happening around us.

“There was plenty of evidence to suggest there’s a renaissance happening.”

Mr Taylor said there was growing evidence of enthusiasm for Fremantle among the business community, including the Kings Square redevelopment, which is set to bring 2,100 jobs to Fremantle once completed.

Also indicative of mounting confidence in Freo were the fresh plans for the DoubleTree by Hilton Fremantle development, lodged in December, and the Andrew Forrest-led attempts to build a hotel on the Spicer site behind the Fremantle markets.

“It’s really starting to happen down there again, and there’s been a groundswell from the business community for Fremantle to recapture its hold on being a super vibrant, creative, cosmopolitan town,” Mr Taylor said.

“When we opened Freo.Social in March, we knew we were going early in the context of that evolution.

“We see that around us in the immediate area and further that there’s just going to be more and more places opening, and we don’t see them as competition, we just see them as drawing more people to Freo.”

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