'El Loco on steroids': bar tsar Hemmes teams up with Opera House

Swoon site ... a very chuffed Justin Hemmes and the equally pleased Opera House CEO, Louise Herron.
Swoon site ... a very chuffed Justin Hemmes and the equally pleased Opera House CEO, Louise Herron. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Sydney's most famous landmark, the Opera House, is teaming with the city's most powerful bar owner to create one helluva party.

As if he didn't have enough on his plate, with a new nightclub opening two weeks ago, Pacha, and a zillion restaurants and bars over town, Merivale's supremo, Justin Hemmes, is taking on the Opera House this summer with two pop-up venues that will hopefully bring the place to life.

The entire two levels of the western forecourt encompassing the boardwalk will be taken over. The bottom level will be converted into a Mexican cantina food stall and bar, El Loco - the Surry Hills stalwart - and there will be a pop-up cocktail and champagne bar, The Cove, inspired by the Great Gatsby which will take over the upper level.

''We jumped at the opportunity,'' Hemmes said.

''We always wanted to bring a bit of El Loco to the city - and this is a perfect opportunity - it really is the best location in Sydney and for the best month and combined with Summer at the House which already has that festive feel El Loco's colour and vibes will just fit perfectly. This is like El Loco on steroids!''

The kitchen for both venues will be spearheaded by Dan Hong (Ms G's, Mr Wong) and will also feature themes, cocktails and sommelier-selected wines.

''We decided what we are trying to do is attract as many people to the Opera House as possible for a whole range of experiences,'' said the Opera House chief executive, Louise Herron.

''This was an opportunity to use it for a month and do something fantastic with it that was consistent with Summer at the House. We put out tenders and Merivale's idea worked brilliantly.''