During its long spell as the carpark for advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the sprawling space opposite Campbell's Stores at The Rocks was the location for some of the most extravagant parties seen in Sydney.
The Hickson Road space is now set to become a permanent venue with three of the hottest names in hospitality moving in.
Mikey Enright and Julian Train, the duo behind The Barber Shop and The Duke of Clarence, and distiller Tim Stones, will steer Hickson House Distilling Co, which opens mid-year.
"We were looking all over the place at warehouses where we could fit the distilling equipment," says Enright. "We just got lucky. We never thought we'd end up at The Rocks."
They've found a fertile corner of the city for a "fully-fledged cocktail bar" with room for private dining in the distillery.
The distilling side of the operation will create gins, aperitifs, whiskies and specialist spirits, kicking off with Hickson Road Gins, crafted with native botanicals from the Southern Highlands. The gin will be paired with specially designed edibles, including a kangaroo dish.
Saatchi & Saatchi had a reputation for going all out with its celebrations in the space before relocating, including dumping truckloads of sand for a themed party in the late 1980s. Where the executives' cars once parked will be taken by distilling gear, chandeliers, velvet curtains and bespoke lamps.
"It'll be slightly eccentric. Not every table will be the same," Enright says.
"As the world slowly comes back to life, we see The Rocks becoming a beacon for all Australians and, eventually, overseas visitors. Tim, Jules and I can't wait to pull up Hickson House's iconic roller-door in June."