JAMES MACDONALD COMES ONBOARD AS GROUP EXECUTIVE CHEF: Although a relatively new creation at the time, Odd Culture Group was lucky to onboard James MacDonald (ex-Hubert head chef) as its group executive chef. Prior to working at the French diner, MacDonald worked his way through several major Melbourne establishments including Meatsmith, Luxembourg and the Builders Arms Hotel. He also spent time at London institution St John. As the group executive chef, MacDonald was tasked with overseeing the group’s culinary direction, including revamping The Duke’s menu, as well as creating a ferment-heavy menu at the Odd Culture restaurant.
Odd Culture Group – Not Your Ordinary Hospitality Group.
Odd Culture Group is shaking up Sydney’s hospitality scene with a strong focus on inclusive and diverse brands, food and drinks that you’ll actually enjoy, and venues you feel at home in.
What started as Thorpe Hospitality in May 2017 and has transformed into the burgeoning hospitality company it is today, Odd Culture Group is redefining the meaning of remarkable local food and drink experiences.
With key Sydney venues under our belt including The Duke Enmore, The Old Fitzroy, The Oxford Tavern, and Odd Culture Restaurant & Bar, we’re passionate about creating special experiences for our beloved and unique communities. Strictly pokie free.
THE OLD FITZROY HOTEL ACQUIRED: Under the new Odd Culture Group name, the group took out a 20 year lease of the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo in January 2021. The acquisition included a high-profile coup for the group as it secured Anna Ugarte-Carral (ex-Momofuku Seiōbo, Firedoor, Hubert and winner of the 2020 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef Award) as head chef. Odd Culture Group was dedicated to maintaining the historic features of the pub, while catering to its diverse clientele.
THE TAPHOUSE DARLINGHURST DIVESTED / GROUP RE-BRANDS TO "ODD CULTURE GROUP": December 2020 was a big month for Thorpe Hospitality. Selling its flagship venue was the first order of business, and then came a total rebrand of the company to Odd Culture Group. With the new brand in tow, the group added two more sites to its stable – which would eventually be transformed into Odd Culture bar and restaurant, and Odd Culture bottle shop on King Street Newtown.
THE DUKE ENMORE ACQUIRED: One might say acquiring a pub at the height of a pandemic is the very definition of madness, but not for Thorpe Hospitality. Former tenants James Wirth and Michael Delany left the building during lockdown after only taking over the pub in December 2018. Meanwhile, Thorpe Hospitality saw it as the perfect opportunity to add the pub to their growing list of venues. The group gave the Enmore local favourite a serious revamp, adding a greater selection of local beers, natural wines, stiff and strong cocktails, and classic Aussie pub grub.
THE OXFORD TAVERN ACQUIRED: January 2019 dawned a new era for Thorpe Hospitality with their second acquisition – beloved Petersham local The Oxford Tavern. The venue was sold by Australian Venue Co., who originally bought it from Jaime Wirth’s Drink ‘N Dine in early 2016. As one of the James’ long-time favourite pubs, he worked hard to retain the local institution’s incredible charm, but gave it a much-needed spruce.
ODD CULTURE NATURAL WINE BAR OPENS: More than a year after acquiring The Taphouse, opened a new concept that paid homage to the increasing demand for natural wines and beers. Named Odd Culture, the bar opened up on the second level of The Taphouse and as a celebration of wild fermentation, with the drinks list featuring mostly sour, barrel aged and wild beers, and natural wines.
THORPE HOSPITALITY GROUP FOUNDED / THE TAPHOUSE DARLINGHURST ACQUIRED: Thorpe Hospitality was formed in May 2017 when owner James, took a leap of faith and purchased The Taphouse in Sydney’s Darlinghurst from owners Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares. Although the popular craft beer house was his first acquisition, James had worked across several major Sydney venues throughout his career, including the Newtown Hotel, The ArtHouse Hotel, Newport Arm and Dee Why Hotel. But running his own venue was always the dream for him. Not to mention James had a strong background in craft beer, making it the perfect fit.
OUR ODD BUNCH.
JAMES THORPEGroup General Manager / Herder of the Cats
The director of Odd Culture Group a.k.a cat mumma – James is responsible for all the “important” things like business development, money management and group concepts – you know… all the important stuff.
JENNA PHILLIPSGroup Operations Manager / Purveyor of Good Times
Jenna makes everyone’s life easier. Legend at coordinating venue teams, overseeing all things volume and pricing, budget approval, cash tingz, analysis / reporting – overall the operations bits and bobs.
JAMES MACDONALDGroup Executive Chef / Maker of Good Grub
Having the paramount responsibility of making sure food tastes (and looks) good across all Odd Culture Group venues, he’s also responsible for food things like development of group menus, coordinating with food suppliers, and all things food stuff.
NICK ZAVADSZKYGroup Compliance & Development Manager / Captain Multitask
Nick looks after… lots of things. No one can really do things the way that Nick does. Juggler of management of compliance and regulatory requirements, policies and procedures, coordination of training programs and other big phrases. You’ll catch him behind the scenes keeping us all together.
NATHAN WOODGroup Digital Marketing Manager / Data Wizard
Otherwise known as “Woody”… takes care of the Group’s marketing strategies, campaigns, concepts – and overall the Data Wizard. P.s, he’s also the resident pro-home cook of the office – we’re still waiting for our invite to dinner.
NADINA LABAGNARAGroup Events Manager / Party Planner & Gatekeeper
Nads is the ultimate party planner – looking after all things bookings, venue hire things and well, other important matters, like making sure we all eat lunch and our office running smoothly. A.K.A Head Office Gatekeeper.
ALLY BURNIEPR & Communications / Queen of Buzz
Queen of the Buzz (yet is ironically deathly afraid of bees). She’s nice to journalists, writes good press releases, coordinate media productions, manage digital comms, and that’s about it.
JORDAN BLACKMANGroup Beverage Manager / Booze Maestro Extraordinaire
Jordan has the most important job of all – ordering the booze. His role involves making nice with booze suppliers, choosing drinkable booze for our venues, making sure there’s enough booze, money things to do with booze and other boozy things.
MARLON MADINAGroup Bookkeeper / Master of Coin
The Group’s manager of accounts payable and receivable. Basically, he deals with all the pesky money stuff and is our lord and saviour come tax time.
MEDIA & NEWS
There’s no denying the effects of an extended lockdown are being felt across Sydney, with the hospitality industry and its workers being some of ...
Recreate Meals From The Old Fitz At Home With ‘Fitz It Yourself’ Lockdown Offering From Head Chef Anna Ugarte-Carral
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | SYDNEY: With Greater Sydney under a two-week stay at home order, The Old Fitzroy in Woolloomooloo is making lockdown that little ...
Since reopening late last year, inner west stalwart The Duke of Enmore has regained its place as a bustling Enmore Road favourite. Serving up ...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 22 June 2021 SYDNEY: Coinciding with The Duke of Enmore’s revamped food menu is the announcement of Enmore Road ...
The Oxford Tavern & Sidehustle DJs Bring Back The Party & Support The Arts With New Weekly Event: Double Time Sundays
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Oxford Tavern alongside Sydney sweethearts Sidehustle DJs are bringing the party back to Petersham and supporting local arts with ...
Two leading chefs – one from Hubert, one from Continental Deli – are taking care of the menu, and it’ll be open every ...
Anna Ugarte-Carral’s star is already on the rise as winner of the 2020 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef Award. Now she’s taking that star power to ...
There are certain things we demand from our pubs, and one of them is that they do not change. Please don’t reinvent yourself, get ...
The updated boozer has a former Momofuku Seiobo chef in the kitchen and a fresh al fresco drinking space – but the essence ...
Odd Culture Group may be a relatively new creation – a rebrand of Thorpe Hospitality Group, it was only established towards the end of last ...