A Nod To Nostalgia | McGrath
McGrath Magazine - Issue 39 - 2/11/2019

A Nod To Nostalgia

Issue 39
02/11/19 | 6 MIN READ

Overlooking the idyllic landscape of Sydney Harbour, the Woolwich Pier Hotel has long been the jewel in the crown of the city’s leafy lower north shore. The Pier, as locals know it, has been an institution since 1885, with many a memory made inside its white brick walls.


Following a three-month refurbishment from creative powerhouse Alexander & Co., The Pier is back and better than ever, with a revitalised interior and reimagined menu to reflect its picturesque locale. Looking to create a ‘conversation’ between past and present, the refreshed space balances the old and the new – from marble, leather and velvet modern additions to aged patinas and heritage features.


The project team, consisting of principal architect, Jeremy Bull with Rachel Wan and Larissa Orso of the interior design team, looked to preserve the memories of the community hub while bringing an element of new soul to the hotel. Focused on creating an all-inclusive space that appeals to every generation, the concept grew from a reinterpretation of the traditional sports bar into a place of exquisite leisure.


The new venue includes a ground floor sports bar and dining hall, a courtyard, gaming facilities, first-floor saloon, and a lavish bar with an expansive balcony. This transformed what was originally an enclosed and compact venue with low-height ceilings to a light-filled and open space. A new, flexible floor plan was put in place – relocating the staircase to cut through the space and dramatically reveal the historic layers of the building’s fabric.


Remnants of beautiful exposed concrete, brick, steel and timber were discovered, inspiring the team to retain the wonderful 1885 structure. Jeremy and team felt it essential that the venue’s story evoked a sense of the familiar without belonging to any particular time or place. They explored a contemporary European mid-century style that embodied a modern personality with a nod to nostalgia.


“It’s an innovative homage to the idea of the ‘old local’ with their unique and often colourful history and the importance of the established peninsular community with few public amenities,” says Jeremy. The result is a holistic design that honours its heritage and locality, while exploring Woolwich in different eras of time.


Fragments of its previous life are interwoven into its new interior fittings and finishes. Reclaimed and restored furniture and lighting pieces speak to that heritage feel, paired with robust brickwork to accentuate the found and rediscovered. The raw materials bring warmth into the space, complemented by soft pastel hues and opulent embellishments of brass pendants and marble-top tables. The space is elevated further by tactile and earthy masculine elements, cleverly juxtaposed against delicate, sophisticated notes of velvet, linen, marble and brass.


As a prime location with multi-generation appeal, the hotel provides the perfect setting for dinner dates, long lunches and large gatherings. Award-winning head chef, Glenn Tabudlo, complements the hotel’s revival with a menu that takes a new direction of flavours influenced by modern and classic French notes and the Japanese umami.


“We achieved so much with our previous menu offering and I’m excited to bring the locals of Woolwich something new,” says Glenn. “The relaunch will once again give us the opportunity to explore another culinary endeavour with the introduction of a modern European brasseries style menu with a Japanese collaboration atmosphere.”


Putting a twist on the well-loved classics Glenn’s menu boasts enticing dishes such as the Sashimi Grade Tuna Tartare; Eggplant and Marcel Comte Mousse Provencal; Shoyu Cone Bay Barramundi; Crispy Skin Salmon; Wagyu Beef Korroke; Veal A’la Mama; and an indulgent Charcuterie Plate – to name a few.


Today we see a sense of versatility and energy returned to this historic and well-loved pub. The venue is inclusive, celebrating beauty, art and heritage with the ability to oscillate between various genres and styles. Ultimately, though, it comes back round to celebrate the undeniable charm of the Woolwich community.