Project Team

Design: Meli Studio

Ben Walsh & Dan Rice, the major players of Sydney’s cocktail culture, turn a once-seedy backpacker haunt into a hip and pulsing drinks, dinner and entertainment hot spot

Ben Walsh and Dan Rice, who made The Victoria Room the best place for cocktails outside of the States or Europe, have teamed up for a floor to ceiling revamp of Goldfish. Gone are the hard industrial surfaces and dingy lighting. In with sleek and roomy chesterfield lounges, heat rays, sturdy wooden tables made from railway sleepers, and a custom-built soundproof ceiling jet-blasted from barasol latex and stretched over the roof framework. In short, Goldfish, wedged right under the Cross’s flashing neon Coke sign, has gone upmarket.

Walsh and Rice have been on the look-out for a venue since founding Sazerac Pty Ltd two years ago. (‘Sazerac’ refers to the first US cocktail ever invented, explained Walsh). “For Goldfish, it was the right time,” said Walsh. “It had just been refurbished and had a new fit-out – it was like having a blank canvas.”

Following a lightning-fast five-week revamp, Goldfish is now making its name with an impressive array of Walsh’s signature cocktails, a ‘global grazing’ menu, and events. The Monday night poker game that attracts hard bluffs reminiscent of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an event not to be missed.

The Goldfish refurbishment includes Bluestone flooring and cladded walls with inset mirrors.

Ruth Meli of Meli Studio was invited to warm up and soften this amazing cosmopolitan space. Ruth decided to introduce many natural finishes to the space, including chocolate marble side tables & rich timber furniture.

Ruth also specified pendant lighting from the H&H Collection, soft colourful rugs from the Rug Collection, large comfortable custom made diamond buttoned ottomans (fabric from Crowson) and custom made cushions (fabrics from Redelmans). Overall, the combination of these elements added colour, texture and contrast, creating an inviting and intimate setting.