Welcome to the Jungle
With the rejuvenation of Gosford on the Central Coast continuing, we are welcomed by the newest recruit to the jungle - Lyons Den. Jared and Claire Lyons have resuscitated this former funeral parlour and most recently a dark and moody speakeasy-style bar (Reviver) to a light and bright venue on Gosford’s Main street.
This brother and sister duo explain that they are “first time bar owners, with Teaching and HR Social Science degrees and both worked in hospitality for many years.” Claire and Jared explain that “for a couple of years, we’ve been thinking about opening a business in Gosford, maybe not a bar; but Gosford is coming into its own - it’s been forgotten in some ways for many years and there are so many opportunities to open a business. Then with some key bars closing we saw a big gap in the market.”
Claire and Jared enlisted the expertise of designer Xanthe Highfield, of Studio Highfield, to bring their vision to life, “we wanted a playful, light and vibrant atmosphere that worked with a safari theme; we wanted to bring to the space a relaxing, fun vibe that complemented the sandstone façade of the building. As such, The décor and colour scheme are light, inviting pastel colours”.
Xanthe is the creative talent behind many of the design forward venues on the Central Coast of late, and her unique eye for bringing together a vision with the appropriate team is notable.
It was Xanthe that connected Lyons Den with artist Leigh Kaplan, who is newly based on the Central Coast having not being able to return to New York, due to the pandemic, where her talents can be witnessed on Cathedral and Theatre projects. This is somewhat of a coup for Jared and Claire, as they have the Coast’s first signature piece from the renowned artist.
Leigh has completed a full wall African savannah mural inside the Den that reflects light and adds depth to a once broody and dark interior.
Partner this with the turquoise tiled tables, the ratten light shades, statement bar and bright yellow umbrellas encompassing the courtyard beer garden, all interwoven into this sandstone landmark building, and the safari travel theme that Jared and Claire wished to bring to life has well and truly been delivered.
The lunch and dinner menus, available 7 days a week, are tapas based and again Jared and Claire have reached out to experts to get it right, enlisting the help of Chef Daniel of Baker St. Brasserie Gosford and the South African specialists of Old Mate’s at Wyong to bring the menu to life.
These partnerships have seen the creation of Pork glazed ribs with sticky BBQ sauce, traditional Mozambique prawns are marinated in a peri peri sauce, served with the shell removed and they are juicy and full of flavour.
For a safari themed bar, vegans and all dietary requirements are well catered for with the fried bread slider with vegan mince, slaw kale, beetroot and lime aioli being a crowd favourite.
The head mixologist Alan has come into his element at Lyons Den, Jared explains “Having worked at some key venues on the coast, this is an opportunity for him to lead with his creative passion and have the freedom to create cocktails.” Creating 8 signature cocktails on top of the classics, Claire shares “the demand for his unique creations has gone crazy!”
Having the opportunity to watch the master at work we are welcomed with the Man’s Red Flower , a Dark Rum, Aperol, falernum, orange juice and passionfruit drink that, served ignited, creates a firework-like effect over your drink.
Watermelon Sugar High is a fan favourite, with Central Coast based Soul Vodka that has been infused with sour watermelon lollies, lillet blanc and strawberry shrub. Rafikiti Kick…umm… kicks a punch! With a base of rum, amaretto, lime juice, orgeat and pineapple juice, please make sure you have a designated driver so you can order another!
The wine list has been curated by Captains of Trade with a key focus of south African wines and “having a good variety, that we know our customers will enjoy.” The impressive tap beer selection, with one tap rotating through Central Coast local beers such a Bay Rd, Six Strings and Block & Tackle, are best drunk in Gosford’s newest (and potentially only) outdoor Beer Garden at the forecourt of the Den.
“We wanted to create a light and fresh and playful place. That is why we are using the outdoor area and making it fun and inviting. It is one our best little assets”
Always planning on what’s next, Jared and Claire share that in 2021, we can expect Juan & Glita from Naught Noodle Fun Haus hosting events at the bar and the resident artist Leigh Kaplan leading Life Drawing classes, Who said Gosford was dull?
With Lyons Den being the new breath of fresh air to the growing bubble of eateries in Gosford, we feel that this building will not be the dead-end of the strip! (that was a funeral parlour joke… in case you missed it!)
Jared and Claire reflect on people telling them not to go into business with family, however they don’t know how they would have done it without them. From brother Ben and his company Southern Cross Cement Rendering project managing the fit out, to finding each other’s strengths and pulling together to make some tough decisions. “Family has been a strength for us” and will be the foundation that the Lyons Den’s roar will only continue to resonate through Gosford.