Sometimes you actually get what you wish for.
For me, that’s Swill magazine – a celebration of restaurant culture near and far, high and low. The only rule, stipulated by my publisher Anton Forte, is “it must be weird and beautiful.”
When Anton first opened Shady Pines – and it remains my favourite bar in Australia to this day – he contravened some pretty sacred Sydney rules. Apart from making delicious drinks, he and the other bartenders were nice to people. They made sure all their customers were comfortable. Everyone, no matter who they were, got the same friendly hello when they walked down those dark stairs off Crown Lane.
The same rules apply to every business he runs, from Shady Pines, Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza, to Alberto’s Lounge and Restaurant Hubert.
How could you not want to work in that environment?
All the same, it’s been a wild six months. I left an editorship of seven years at The Sydney Morning Herald running arguably the country’s most influential restaurant guide to start Swill – a completely untested product published by a hospitality company that has never printed more than a menu.
Actually, that was a big part of the appeal.
Much the same way I took a leap to work with the Swillhouse gang, they’ve taken that same leap with me. I’m not sure anyone else would let me publish a story about America’s last rock’n’roll bikini bar alongside a piece about magical seaweed in Tasmania and a pub in Suffolk whose main talking point is a mummified human leg hanging over the bar. Ever wanted to know where to get excellent tinned soup in Beirut? The answer to this, and many other pressing questions, are held within these pages.
Please enjoy what we’ve made. We have no idea if you’ll like it.
Myffy Rigby, Editor