City News

New Potts Point venue to rock the boat, Barry

Rocafelas owners Nate Johnson and Rocco Tozzi take on Potts Point. Photo: Chris Peken

Amid what seems like a never-ending war against licensed premises in the CBD and city east, a new venue will open its doors this week in Potts Point, in spite of the new liquor laws. Its owners say they want to create a neighbourhood sanctuary away from the neon bustle of the Kings Cross strip.

Rocafelas will host its official launch party on Friday, February 28 at its premises on Kellett Street, which adjoins the busy Bayswater Road.

Two guys who bonded over their love for American punk rockers The Misfits, owners Nate Johnson and Rocco Tozzi have created a space where good food, drinks and atmosphere go hand-in-hand.

“There has been a lot of bad press lately about the area, when realistically we’re in a suburb with a huge local community,” Mr Johnson said.

“We have tried to create a space where the locals can drop in for a drink, great food and conversation with some amazing tunes playing in the background.”

All up, the process has taken the boys about three months from start to finish, with a few setbacks along the way.

“We had similar ideas of what we wanted to portray so we joined them and Rocafelas was the result” Mr Johnson said.

“We have an all weather outdoor area featuring a mural by local artist Alex Le Hours. The venue features little nooks to hide away in and functional fireplaces for cooler weather, creating the perfect neighbourhood sanctuary.”

Opening a venue in Potts Point during the midst of the government’s new laws is a bold choice and one that will prove a challenge.

“Our vision is to provide great food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere away from the lights of the Cross’s main strip,” Mr Johnson said.

“Our license does not exceed the new closing hours, and does not require us to lockout potential patrons at 1:30am, due to the small bar status.”

“You can still come in for a late night bite and a drink in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Our kitchen is open until the front door closes.”

If the O’Farrell government hoped its new laws would dissuade new bars from opening in the area, this news will come as a disappointment.

But for Rocafelas’ owners, it is a chance to prove to the community that Kings Cross nightlife can thrive despite the government’s efforts to shut it down.

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