Things have changed on Beaumont Street. Have you visited yet?
No? Yes? If The Beaumont hasn’t been high up on your eating & drinking radar, then you should really move it on up
If you’re unfamiliar with the name let’s get you up to speed. The Beaumont, or Café De Beaumont as you may know it, has been sitting at 68 Beaumont St for more than 40 years and has been everything from a café, to a restaurant and cocktail lounge bar.
If The Beaumont hasn’t been high up on your eating & drinking radar, then you should really move it on up. Why? Well, let’s just say it’s got something to do with Johnny Tolcher.
As of last September Johnny took over The Beaumont with the plan being to reinvent what it means to dine and drink cocktails on Beaumont St. Whilst not a lot has changed aesthetically, just yet anyway, in the kitchen and behind the bar you will notice some significant flavour shifts.
We caught up with Johnny to see what his plans are for the venue and what brought him to Beaumont St.
Thanks for meeting with us Johnny, firstly can I ask why your name and face seem so familiar?
Ahhh yes I’ve been around town for a while and I made... make Crown Pomade (hint hint)
Yes of course. That’s a story all to itself and we’ll leave that for another time, so The Beaumont is in addition to Crown Pomade and you also have a day job right?
Haha absolutely, I own two local Optus franchises which are run by probably some of the highest skilled and best people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Hospitality isn’t your background but eating and drinking is obviously something you’re passionate about, what initiated this leap into the hospitality world?
Well, actually I did work at a cafe as a runner when I was 18. It was a wild 29 days and we broke up very mutually. I’m fairly passionate about Newy itself, to be honest, and eating and drinking I feel are an excellent way of coming across mates you haven’t met yet.
I had been looking for a small venue for the previous 2 years or so mostly to prove to myself that the principles I use elsewhere can be successfully crossed over. Also, there can always be more places that are fueled by passion.
And what was it about The Beaumont that caught your eye?
To be honest it was partly the right location at the right time. But I have a memory of having a coffee with my Dad here when I was maybe 16 or so and it just made sense to me, rather than [to] reinvent the wheel, it was an established brand that could be repaired/reinvented.
The Beaumont has mostly been a morning café style venue, are you planning on continuing this or mixing things up?
As much as I love our breakfast patrons, we definitely want to mix things up. I feel west of Newcastle is lacking alternatives for quality cocktails and wines
Love the look of the Cocktail menu is that something you’re focusing on?
There are definitely some bangers on that list. Yeah, the list is absolutely a focus for us, so we will adopt a classic recipe or concept and make our own. Example the West End Appletini isn’t the usual fluorescent green sweet liqueur, but a tart fresh apple which usually brings people back for another... and another few more.
You’ve pulled together an impressive team in the kitchen and behind the bar, can you tell us a little bit about the team?
Yeah well I replaced the heads of each department over the past 6 months, starting with our excellent head chef Sophie formerly head chef at the Civic theatre, and worked at the Grain store, and the cafe captain, Sara who managed great venues including East End Hub and the Autumn rooms now runs the cafe of the day. Then we have head bartender Tristan who has worked from London to Sydney city making and creating impressively delicious concoctions.
Besides the food and drinks, what can people expect when they visit The Beaumont?
Given my background, people should expect a great experience, we aren’t without the regular setbacks of the establishment of course, but my team has a commitment to improvement and excellence.
You have a strong focus on events, can you tell us a little bit about how you want The Beaumont to add to the cultural landscape?
Largely I wanted to make a little extra space for some of the less than standard events available in Newcastle. While we still have live music regularly, we have trivia/bingo hosted by Timberlina, we host Cuplet the Poetry evening, and SketchParty will be joining us soon and I’m always looking for more to add into the fold.
You’ve hinted that there could be some reno’s happening, any idea as to when the new look will be revealed?
Well, it's very exciting as the final few things are being nailed down currently, but of course, the sooner the better.
Thanks for your time Johnny, looking forward to seeing what you bring to Beaumont St.