ODD CULTURE BOTTLE SHOP OPENS ITS DOORS: An extension of the Odd Culture Newtown bar offering, Odd Culture Bottle Shop swung open its doors shortly after, just a 2 doors up. Curated by group beverage manager Jordan Blackman, it features an extensive range of organic and biodynamic wine, wild ales and lambic, natural cider and sake. However, it’s not your standard bottle-o with the shop also offering a range of fermented goods and condiments including pickles, vinegars, shrubs and hot sauces from local producers.
ABOUT & MEDIA.
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, Odd Culture Newtown & Odd Culture Bottle Shop, we’re passionate about creating special experiences for our beloved and unique communities. Strictly pokie free.
ODD CULTURE NEWTOWN OPENS: Highly anticipated since late 2020, Odd Culture Newtown opened its doors to the public on Saturday October 29. Situated on Newtown’s famed King St, the venue concept is a hybrid bar/restaurant/cafe space with a cool and casual all-day vibe. An all-star team was rounded up to lead the venue – including head chef Jesse Warkentin (ex-Continental Deli), and sous chef Caleb Venner (ex-Continental Deli), who will both work alongside Odd Culture Group’s Executive Chef James MacDonald (ex-Hubert head chef). The bar and cocktail program is led by Sam Paech (ex-Baxter Inn) alongside group beverage manager Jordan Blackman (ex-Chin Chin), with Katharine Crowe-Mai (ex-Rockpool) managing the restaurant and service.
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.
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 THORPECEO / Director
the director of Odd Culture Group (AKA Herder of Cats). With an extensive background in the hospo industry, he’s responsible for coming up with the big ideas, business development, money management, group concepts – you know… all the things that keep us alive and kicking.
JAMES MACDONALDGroup Executive Chef
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 ZAVADSZKYCreative Director
Creative & brand direction; look, feel, experience.
NADINA LABAGNARAGroup Reservations & Events Manager
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.
JORDAN BLACKMANGroup Beverage Manager
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.