Balmain stalwart Blue Ginger closes, citing BYO as pressure point

Blue Ginger restaurant is closing its doors in Balmain.
Blue Ginger restaurant is closing its doors in Balmain. Photo: Steven Siewert

During its 22-year run, Balmain restaurant Blue Ginger survived the introduction of GST, the GFC, rent rises and a pandemic. The straw that finally broke its back? BYO.

Blue Ginger owner Michael Corrente, closed the restaurant this month. A number of factors were at play, but the restaurateur says the pressure from local diners wanting to bring their own alcohol was pivotal.

With 70 per cent of Blue Ginger's diners opting to BYO and many avoiding the restaurant on the days it wasn't offered, Corrente says tight margins in the restaurant business make it difficult to survive with low liquor sales.

He'd like to rebirth Blue Ginger, but "I don't know if I'm going to do it in Balmain".

The suburb has been undergoing change in recent times. Stalwart Efendy closed late last year, with plans to relocate, and One Ford Street has just announced it will shut at Easter after the pub in which it resides was sold. The incoming owners have plans for the restaurant space.

Industry forecasts of wholesale restaurant closures due to the impact of COVID thankfully haven't eventuated, but Sydney has lost its fair share of reliable locals, a category thought to be more immune to the pressures of the pandemic.

The Cookhouse, which opened in the former Randwick site of Balzac in 2013, is one of those to close.

The Park Darlinghurst, which opened last year in the one-time home of The Victoria Room, popped up on the ASIC website last week, listed as under administration.

Its owners couldn't be contacted, but its website states: "We are taking a much needed few months break following Mardi Gras. We hope to see you again soon."