12/08/2021 - 12:50

Functions, events & everything in between - Andy Freeman on creating unforgettable hospitality experiences

12/08/2021 - 12:50


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Image Credit: Peggy Saas

Delivering great hospitality is an imperfect science, but four venues later and a brewery in the pipeline, Perth hospitality legend Andy Freeman seems to have figured out a trusted formula – and Perth’s hospitality scene is immeasurably richer because of it.

Freeman is CEO of Perth-based hospitality group, Sneakers & Jeans (S&J) and a well-respected figure in the Australian hospitality industry. Originally established as Two Bit Group in 2015, the company soon grew into a multi-venue portfolio that was later rebranded S&J with business partner and S&J Group GM, Lachlan Howarth.

The multi-venue S&J portfolio continues to amass an array of accolades – including ‘Employer of the Year’ at the 2020 Business News Rise Awards and the highly coveted ‘Group Operator of the Year’ at the AHA Awards for Excellence in both 2019 and 2020.

When Varnish on King opened back in 2013, it was all about the whiskey, bacon and pumping music. Similarly, when The Flour Factory opened a year later – the focus was on the Gin and modern Australian cuisine within a beautiful restored Heritage space. The 2017 opening of Caballitos was doused in tequila, tacos and a “well-loved” dancing pole – and the 2018 opening of Hadiqa’s beautiful rooftop fused together colourful Middle-Eastern cuisine with incredible experiences and aesthetic appeal.

The highly anticipated Pirate Life Perth is set to increase the S&J venue portfolio to five later this year, boasting a reserved private dining room overlooking the main brewery, a casual fine dining restaurant and showcasing a multitude of venues and experiences under one roof – including a tasting room. The mega-brewery is already a highly sought after destination for functions and events – which S&J HQ are currently maintaining a waitlist for.

Indeed, it’s easy to see why people may think that aside from flavoursome food, classic beverages, great atmosphere, music, and the occasional ticketed event – there’s little else a successful hospitality venue can offer... Cue S&J. Self-proclaimed ‘Architects of Revelry’, the team thrive on offering more than just a venue – rather curating and inspiring unforgettable experiences, moments and memories.

It’s fair to say the thousands of functions and events hosted by S&J over the last eight years have been nothing short of… varied. Long-table luncheons, corporate sundowners and black-tie ceremonies aside, they’ve had llamas as special wedding guests at The Flour Factory, live tattoo artists inking custom flash tattoos at Caballitos, booked comedian Arj Barker for a corporate event gig, seen snake charmers and belly dancers shimmying around Hadiqa’s rooftop terraces, had aerial artists swinging from the beams of The Flour Factory, hosted fashion showcases and product launches for iconic Australian and International brands, hosted multiple Supanova events… it’s all happened at S&J.

“It’s not unusual for us to host a few hundred functions and events across the group each year. It’s a huge part of our business” says Freeman. “Our secret sauce? We endeavour to offer something different. Like our eclectic portfolio, no two S&J venues are the same – no two functions or events are the same either” smiles Freeman. “We create unique experiences, we love what we do – and we have fun doing it. If we love what we do, our clients will too.”

A dedicated events team oversees the S&J functions and events offering, which is segmented into four key pillars: Group Bookings, B2B Corporates, Weddings and Social events. The team are tasked with delivering on a client’s specific brief – whether it’s a special birthday, engagement, sundowner – and everything in-between.

“Retention is incredibly important – trusting us with your events is paramount. We listen to what our clients want and we deliver. We strive to constantly offer inspired interactivity – tailoring our offering to suit demand, as creatively and uniquely as possible.”

Indeed, it’s not unusual for the S&J events team to take a regular event offering from a venue in the S&J portfolio – such as a Whiskey Masterclass tasting at Varnish or the Shake, Taco & Twirl experience at Caballitos – and modify it to suit a corporate client. It’s quite common to see corporates stepping behind the S&J bars to shake up custom-created cocktails or learning to belly/pole dance with the resident Hadiqa and Caballitos dancers.

“We thrive on innovation, creativity and interactivity – injecting some revelry into our corporate offering comes naturally to us” says Freeman. “Engineering experiences is our jam and we’re excited for what’s to come!”

If the current S&J portfolio is anything to go by, we can be sure of one thing – the addition of Pirate Life Perth is not only going to be an impressive offering, it’s going to be a unique one too. Perth’s hospitality scene is set for a shake up!

Image Credit: Peggy Saas

Chasing a function or event as unique as your team? S&J are offering Business News readers up to $500 off bookings made before 30 November 2021 – simply quote BUSINESS NEWS to qualify! T&Cs apply, subject to availability.  

Contact Sneakers & Jeans

08 9485 1711




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