11:30am-3:30pm Monday 20th September 2021
Restaurant Hubert

This year our Business of Bars Conference is returning to the tailor-made conference room at Restaurant Hubert on Monday 20th September 2021, from 11:30am-3:30pm. Following a packed-out event in 2019, we have ramped things up yet again, with cutting edge topics and both international and local bar industry experts.

Topics for this year will cover the unexpected issues that COVID has unearthed, staffing and recruitment, building a business and some TED talk style sessions. Leading operators from Jared Merlino, Natalie Ng, Hayden Lambert and Sven Almenning (among many others) will be on hand.

Guests will also receive drinks and snacks included in their ticket price.


Hosted and presented by Australian Bartender Magazine and Bar Week founder David Spanton, this event is now in its 14th year. Numbers are strictly limited so get in early. The Business of Bars Conference forms part of Sydney Bar Week.

Early bird tickets are on sale for $66 (plus fees). From 14th July, tickets will cost $88 (plus fees). Please note ticket price includes snacks and drinks, and is for the entire event (not individual sessions).

Read on for details on this years sessions below.

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What the F@#k is Happening!


We have a look at the impact COVID has had on our industry and talk to a handful of operators who tell their story and ways they adapted to stay in the game.


  • Jared Merlino (Owner, Merlino & Co. Sydney)

  • Chau Tran (Co-owner, Burrow Bar, Sydney)

  • Greg Sanderson (Partner, Speakeasy Group Melbourne)

  • Hayden Lambert (Partner, Above Board Melbourne)

  • Jason Williams (Director, House Made Hospitality, Creative Director Proof & Company)

Aces in Places


We discuss all things staffing and recruitment with a host of leading operators and find out what systems they have in place that helps them hire and retain great staff and how you can do the same.


  • Jimmy Bradey (Liquid & Larder Group, Sydney)

  • Natalie Ng (Door Knock, Sydney)

  • Martin Lange (Death & Taxes, Cobbler, Brisbane)

  • Ollie Margan (Maybe Mae, Adelaide)

  • Darren Barber (Group Director for The Hospo Group)

  • Toby Hilton (Swillhouse, Sydney)


Growing Pains -
Good Things to Know if you Plan to Expand


Owning and operating two, three or more venues is very different to being the owner and operator of one. In this session, award winning operators Greg Sanderson and Sven Almenning from the Speakeasy group share some of the learnings they’ve had along the way as the Speakeasy group has grown from opening Eau De Vie in 2010 to a total of eight venues.


Sven Almenning, Chief Booze Geek & Greg Sanderson co-owner & Group Operations Manager, The Speakeasy Group (EDV, Mjolner, Boilermaker House).

Spirited Talks


Three short and sharp 15-minute TED talk style conversations with industry personalities.


  • Amy Cooper (Sun Herald) on the questions you need to be able to answer to get noticed by the media (aka the 5 Ws = who, what, when & why)

  • Hayley Morison (The Blend) tells us what you can get from liquor brands (and what you can’t) and how they can help your bar.

  • Mike Enright ((Co-owner, The Barber Shop, Duke of Clarence, Hickson House Distilling Co) on career lessons learnt working for the leading bar groups to starting his own collection of award-winning bars.