Our grand opening, our first activation and our first and everlasting impression of not only months and months of ruthless and relentless work during the design, build and fit out but also the biggest risk and dream of both my own (Steen Jones) and Anthony’s lives.
While this sounds scary, at the time it wasn’t - a weird realisation considering how terrifying it seems now in retrospect. Instead, the whole process was very easy and organic as there was never a doubt in our minds that our first activation would be with Sailor Jerry, paying homage to the man himself.
Norman Keith Collins A.K.A. “Sailor Jerry” was not only a sailor but also a tattoo artist, a dissenter, a wanderer, a musician and a US Navy man. A slave and student to the art of tattooing until his death in 1973, his work, influence and legacy lives on.
Sailor Jerry in recent years has been dubbed ‘The Father of Old School Tattoo’ and rightfully so, as he is not only globally recognised as one of the biggest pioneers of the tattoo industry but also one of the most influential, with his artworks being replicated and referenced by thousands (myself included) around the world.
If you didn’t know that Sailor Jerry is much more than a delicious blended spiced rum made in the Caribbean, now you do.
This said, calling it “Respect Tradition” was a no-brainer.
The design process of the wall was seamless given my familiarity with the work of Norman Collins and I had a few key and iconic pieces in mind from the get go: i.e. the Hula girl from bottle.
A hand painted photo frame was added to the end of the wall as a fun, last minute addition to encourage social media interaction to great success
Having completed the main wall, it was time for the fun stuff (fun stuff being food and drinks!).
We decided that for it to be a true take-over, Sailor Jerry should be present in multiple components of the bar and space. The bar created a limited run of three delicious cocktails all based on Sailor Jerry (Sailors Grave, Death Before Dishonour and Stewed And Screwed) as well a shooter (R.I.P Jerry, to be enjoyed responsibly) and the kitchen was able to create a slow cooked, Sailor Jerry infused pulled pork taco and sandwich, both so popular they were added to the our standing menu.
With the activation complete across the physical space, drinks and food, Sailor Jerry’s ‘Hori Smoku’ documentary on the TV and our freshly printed Sailor Jerry x Deathproof menus good to go, it was time to open the doors to the people and press joining us in celebrating our hard work, the realisation of a shared dream and the legacy of the man himself.