Monday, April 19, 2010

One Year of the Mayor of Newtown

One year ago on April 19th the Mayor of Newtown announced his arrival in the on-line world with this post. It seems just a few weeks ago that I was marking the 6 month anniversary of the blog; indeed in terms of output the second 6 months have been a lot quieter than the first 6 months; roughly half the number of posts. That can be attributed to some pent up stories prior to launch, as well as the distractions of a Sydney summer !

The Top 5 all time posts has just one new entry since October, a post which discussed the popular proposed renovation of Newtown Hotel, hopefully bringing back the verandahs. The top 5 posts for the first year of Mayor of Newtown were:
It shows that readers share the Mayor's two main interests - urban renewal and drinking venues ! In terms of absolutes, Google Analytics tells me that the Newtown station had a total of ~ 500 unique views; and that the site overall has had 5000 'unique visitors' for a total of around 16,000 pageviews; and that a quarter of my visitors now arrive from Google (in the early days it was almost all Twitter).

A recent popular addition has been the Hatches Batches and Dispatches series; an occasional round up of new openings, closures, Development Applications and random news from Newtown. The first edition is the third most visited post of this year; happily there are two Mystery posts (one bar, one photo) in this year's top 5, and the Mystery Photos continue to be popular.

Six months ago I also kicked off the Mayor on Posterous and Facebook, to accompany the Mayor's Twitter presence that was launched simultaneously with this site. They've proved less popular - I've more or less given up on Posterous, as the gap I thought it filled possibly doesn't really exist. I might give it another go; maybe for three line reviews of new bars, restaurants and cafes. The Facebook presence has also drawn little interest - under 200 'fans' compared to the 800 Twitter followers and 6000 members of Facebook's much older I Love Newtown group.

To celebrate my birthday I got myself a present - some mini-cards from There are 5 varieties in all, all with the same obverse. I've started leaving them around the town, so keep your eyes open and let me know if you find them.

What's next ? More of the same I'd say - although, as always, I welcome your suggestions. In terms of the main interests of my readers Newtown Station, The Hub and the Tram Sheds all remain unresolved, although it looks like The Hive will become a supermarket development still hasn't started. The last year has finally seen some bars joining Madame Fling Flongs in providing an alternative to Newtown's pubs; and hopefully that trend will continue.

Thanks for your support and Happy Birthday to me !

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mystery Bar II Revealed - Bloodwood

The mystery bar series kicked off the other week with Corridor, which lasted a respectable amount of time before being identified. Mystery Bar II continued the 'door' theme of the recent mystery photos (red and farm) and asked in which fine Newtown drinking establishment the above yellow door was.

It wasn't so hard given there are still too few bars in Newtown to really challenge you, but whether it was shyness or something else, it was 10 days until LolaSkate put their name to a (correct) guess of Bloodwood - and scored the bonus point for identifying that it leads absolutely nowhere ! To be fair ShaBlair had pointed this out earlier, but only on Twitter.

Bloodwood has been the subject of a very un-Newtown like buzz since it opened a couple of months ago in the old Planetarium (fancy word for a nursery) in the up and coming South King St (SoKi) area. It has been reviewed postively in Barzine, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Restaurant Review, Time Out, and several blogs amongst others.

In my mind Bloodwood is more of a restaurant than a bar - the food is bloody good as you'd expect from ex-Claudes chefs (I'll leave reviews to the experts) and much has been made of the great design. The bar area is really just the reception at the entrance - the physical bar given to protecting the chefs and anyway the corridor is too narrow for bar stools - but at least there is the option to drink and or dine in this much welcome addition to the Newtown scene.

Out the back

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mystery Bar II - Follow the Yellow Door

The mystery bar series kicked off the other week with Corridor, which lasted a respectable amount of time before being identified. To continue in the 'door' theme of the recent mystery photos (red and farm); and certainly a little easier than they have proved to be; I present (without further ado) the second Newtown Mystery Bar - "Yellow Door".

In which fine Newtown drinking establishment is this door to be found ? And for a bonus point - where does it lead ?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hatches Batches and Dispatches II

The second round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown in the last month or so ...

New Openings
  • Kick Lounge has opened on Erskineville Road near the still closed Imperial Hotel
  • Metrobus 30 - Newtown to Enmore, started March 28, garnering surpising support from the Mayor's followers ;)
  • Red Cross vintage boutique opened at 359 King St
  • Old Aboriginal art gallery on Mary Street is for lease

Development Applications
  • Newtown RSL to be replaced by 63 room boutique hotel
  • The Sando applies to maintain extended trading hours
God drinks here

  • Bloodwood in the SMH
  • Iiza in the Tele
  • Corridor in the SMH (cliche alert) and TimeOut
  • Soffrito in the SMH (5.4 on the Mossop cliche scale)

  • Rumour has it that Funky cafe is on the market
  • The Vanguard is for sale; with current owner John Cass looking for a new owner who will maintain the vibe
  • Mickeys (next to Daniel Motsyn) has closed and has been replaced by Wine and Dine, a slightly sterile looking cafe/bar (but welcome nevertheless !)
  • The old Allan's Cakes in Erko will re-open as a dessert bar (pending licence approval)
  • The same owner has plans for a shared plates style bar next door. Finger's crossed ! Take time to do his Erko survery