Bar Symposium

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Recently, in partnership with Clubs Queensland, DWS Hospitality Specialists invited approximately 40 members on a tour of Brisbane and Fortitude Valley’s hottest bars. The bar symposium allowed the group to learn from the best. A manager from each venue discussed what sets their venue apart, focusing on current and forecasted premium bar and beverage trends.

The success of the venues were clearly derived from their extremely passionate management. The managers of each venue were very knowledgeable about the industry – they know what works and what doesn’t. They’re always improving on their venue – how to progress their bar, looking for new trends and what’s new in the industry.

The tour included different speakers giving valuable insight into the industry how they have become so successful.

  • General Manager of The Gresham, Ryan Lane, spoke about the importance of venue culture and how it has attributed to the success of the heritage listed whiskey bar.
  • Quayne Sim from Carlton & United discussed the future of craft beer.
  • Justinn DeBeer, General Manager of Brooklyn Standard, shared his secrets behind how they turned a back alley basement into the “Australian Bar of the Year”.
  • Julian Train, National Sales Manager On-Premise – Alcohol & Coffee from The Exchange gave insights into the evolution of spirits and what to look for in the future.
  • Tim Hooper, Restaurant Manager of a Grill’d franchise in the Emporium in Fortitude Valley revealed the key to success behind their food and service formula.
  • Katazyna Group’s Managing Director, Will Pitchforth, gave a tour of Cloudland, one of their finest venues.
  • Charlie Redmond, Catering Manager from The Westport Club in Sydney spoke about innovating on premise offers and the research they did to forecast trends for their multi-million dollar renovation.
  • Our very own Tom Streater, from DWS Victoria, explored the current bar trends in Victoria and how to implement them into a QLD venue.
  • Kerry Heaney, a renowned food writer and critic, spoke about bar food sensations.
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Brisbane Racing Club, David Whimpey, delved into the concept of reinvention and the creation of the Kentucky Bar.

Although the day revealed many different strategies, the consensus was that the staff and their training are what makes a venue successful. This means training staff on products, customer service, etc. Having great, well-trained staff will provide the customer with a top notch experience and product. With a bar, that is key.

The tour included a visit to the amazing venues below.




Everyone that attended the day walked away with invaluable insight into where our industry is heading and were provided with ideas that everyone could take and implement into their own venue.

There might be another symposium in the works make sure you keep an eye out!

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