Already in the midst of helping to reinvigorate and support the Aussie music industry, Smirnoff is collaborating with famed local venues to bring together a night of eclectic flavours and a love of music in their new Smirnoff Origins series, starting with a DJ set from critically-acclaimed electronic favourites The Presets at Sydney’s beloved Club 77.
With Smirnoff Origins taking place across February and March, the series will explore the keen feeling music-lovers have been searching for in the local music scene. Australian artists who love what they do, emerging artists to fulfil the craving of new, and Smirnoff drinks on hand to help cement the event as one that is invigorating as it is delicious.
The first night of Smirnoff Origins is set to take flight on Thursday, February 2nd. From choosing the right beverages, to fostering a connection with music, Smirnoff knows how to put together a gig worthwhile, but it really begins with Club 77, and their rich history that truly sets the tone for an evening with The Presets.
As a venue that’s been churning out tunes from their speakers for over twenty-five years, Club 77 marks as one of the most perfect venues to host Smirnoff Origins, with their similar dedication to supporting good, local music and emerging artists, with the addition of punters getting to experience the venue in an intimate atmosphere with The Presets at the helm. Notably, the event will be a full-circle moment for the likes of The Presets, who played at Club 77 back in their early days, and will now return to the venue which was instrumental in helping themselves become internationally-renowned names.
Fostering a connection for people and music for over 25 years, Sydney’s Club 77 with director Dane Gorrel at the helm has transformed a number of times over the years, while still remaining a staple in the community with its descent downstairs, cosy atmosphere, constant roster of endless local and international DJs like Fred P, Ayebatonye, Deepa, Barney Kato, Mike Who, Reenie, Evie, Jhassic, Wavyrager, Ciara, Ben Fester and Simon Caldwell, and memories upon memories etched in its walls.
First throwing its doors open in 1997, Club 77 began life as a nondescript underground club, serving as a perfect place for those who couldn’t quite find their niche to unite and carve their own corner of the city. As the years went on, Club 77 continuously adapted to keep up with current trends and appetites, ultimately succeeding against the draconian lockout laws to emerge bigger than ever. More recently, it experienced a new look by way of a reinvention as a late-night dive bar. As Gorrel explains, it’s an opportunity to keep expanding its community.
“In May last year we relaunched the venue with 7 nights a week trading, so we now operate Monday to Sunday from 6pm to 4am,” Gorrel notes. “Back in early December, we launched a new weekly Monday night, and this will be backed up with the launch of two new products on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in March 2023.
“Tuesdays now feature a weekly Jazz night and Wednesdays boast a weekly world music night,” he adds. “The main future plan is to provide Sydney with a dedicated late night live music venue, with programming taking place seven nights a week and until 4am.
“Our main focus is building a community around and within not just the live music sector, we want to provide a venue that is diverse and inclusive, something for everyone.”
Despite all the wins, Club 77 hasn’t been without its struggles, with staff shortages and rising costs to keep things operating amongst the venue’s biggest issues in modern times. “Not that we don’t already keep a close eye on our finances, but now more than ever we go through our costs each week and make sure we are not overspending in certain areas and that we are operating in the green,” Gorrel explains.
“I personally spend an entire day going through the past week’s profit and loss, and then I meet with our accountant and bookkeeper to double check all the costs,” he notes. “In the past I’ve not operated in this way, but we are trading in different and new times, so there’s a whole new level of attention to detail with our costs.
“Staff shortages have hit us the hardest,” he adds. “It’s a struggle every week and more often than not, we are down at least one or two key staff members or a manager. It’s really difficult and really stressful, and it takes a toll on all the other staff in the venue.
“We are advertising for staff literally every week, and we are not concerned if they have no experience, we are happy to train and develop their skills as quickly as possible.”
But despite any of the downs that Club 77 may find itself facing, it’s all balanced by the ups that have helped to cement its status as one of Sydney’s oldest and most beloved nightspots.
“For me having Fred P play in the venue back in 2019 has been the highlight, he’s one of my favourite DJs and producers and it’s always special when you are given the opportunity to host someone like that,” Gorrel explains.
“Relaunching the venue back in May was amazing, we completely redeveloped our business model and changed how we operate. It’s been really special watching the venue grow each week, especially after the pandemic and the lockout laws.”
Gorrel notes that being able to host such a special night of Smirnoff Origins really is the cherry on top of their relaunch that occurred earlier this year: “For us, Smirnoff Origins is an opportunity for us to give back to the community and provide The Presets the opportunity to play in a space that holds a special place in their hearts.”
Continuing on, Gorrel states his keenness at the humble Club 77 hosting The Presets once again: “If you had told me 15 years ago that we’d be hosting The Presets [for a second time] at Club 77, I just wouldn’t have believed you,” he says. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and we will be getting right behind it and ensuring everyone has a good time and enjoys the nights.”
With a venue like Club 77 that is unparalleled on the scene, electronic maestros The Presets taking the stage with a DJ set, emerging artists giving crowds a new taste, local DJs putting on sets to keep the night going, and Smirnoff drinks on offer , the early February gig will be one to attend. Tickets to the debut Smirnoff Origins are on sale now with the second release of tickets going on sale today. With limited tickets to create the perfect intimate effect, punters are urged to quickly act on tickets to not miss out.
If you’re looking for another stellar way to ensure you’re taking part in all that the Aussie summer has to offer, make sure you’re also across the new Smirnoff Seltzer Cocktails. Featuring two new flavours, Spicy Margarita and Watermelon Margarita, they’re a bolder addition to any summer playlist.
While we’re all about having fun, please remember to drink responsibly. Smirnoff knows music, do you know your DrinkIQ?
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Club 77, Sydney, NSW
Tickets: $50+ Booking Fee