Bowling clubs, storage sheds and toilet blocks have been given Sydney-style hospitality makeovers. Now a historic church crypt and garden are primed to follow.
Bill Drakopoulos, the restaurateur behind LuMi, Aqua Dining and Ripples, will open a new venue in the bowels of St James' Church on Macquarie Street.
The first stage of Jardin St James kicks off next month with a coffee cart out the front of the church, with a Parisian-style cafe opening in the sunken garden space and crypt before Christmas.
The church and its grounds have great bones, courtesy of convict architect Francis Greenway (it was constructed between 1819 and 1824) and it'll get a few sympathetic 21st century tweaks courtesy of Drakopoulos' design team.
"It's the oldest working church in the country," the restaurateur says. "If I can get in good with God, a piece of fish and a loaf of bread will go a long way."