Manly’s unluckiest venue is no more

The site at Level 1/249-53 has seen many incarnations as a hospitality venue, but that is no more. Clark & Humel Property Management has taken over the site that was last operated as a restaurant by Out of Africa. Darna never developed any momentum during the Covid era – which was a shame because the food was outstanding.

The first floor site with sweeping ocean views was once the hottest place in Manly. In 2010, Miguel Maestre was the head chef at El Toro Loco. It was allegedly Sydney’s biggest Spanish restaurant at the time. Miguel blew up deluxe with the landlord and left amongst a flurry of AVOs and confidentiality agreements. After a short time, it operated as El Poco Loco before shutting down.

In May 2011, and much to the excitement of Back of the Ferry, the site became Murray’s at Manly. At the time Murray’s produced some absolutely fabulous beers under head brewer, Shawn Sherlock. There was a real buzz for awhile, but things just never got going. Staff turned over faster than managers of the Chelsea Football Club and the menu changed more regularly than the Melbourne weather.

Two years later, the Murray’s name was gone and it was replaced by Rubber Duckie Taphouse. Apparently the brand was owned by Murray’s and it was going to be the first of a number of tap houses that would be a point of distribution for Murray’s still outstanding beers.

Rubber Duckie lasted 6 months and became the Yardarm Taphouse. The new owners were enthusiastic for a short time and really had a go. They did tap takeovers and got brewers like Holgate in to meet the punters. Not sure what happened and when the curse of the venue took hold, but a little over two years later, the Yardarm sign went down.

At the start of 2016, the fifth name in 6 years went up. Sunkissed Bar & Grill actually did good food and served some good crafties, but to be honest it flamed out pretty quickly. Less than 1 year and 4 months later it was all over. The next venue never made it to the Back of the Ferry pages because the beer connection was done away with. Darna by Out of Africa took over in 2020, but tragically ran head first into COVID.

So that’s all she wrote for Level 1/49-53 North Steyne. As property managers, you’d hope the new tenants have sorted out the lease terms.