The Beach Hotel in Merewether is officially open after an 18-month staged renovation.

The Beach Hotel in the Newcastle region was acquired by Glenn Piper off Andrew Lazarus in May 2022. Piper immediately began a three-phased renovation of the pub, beginning with Larrie’s, a ground-floor beach kiosk offer which opened in May last year. The rest of the pub officially reopened on 22 December. The opening of the elevated seaside restaurant Peregrin this week marks the completion of the renovations.

Located within walking distance of Merewether Beach, the refresh of the hotel was inspired by a blending of Newcastle’s steel city grit and its surf culture. Piper himself grew up surfing the coastline surrounding Merewether, and wanted to honour that feeling of nostalgia for the community around the pub.

“The Beach Hotel has been more than just a pub; it has been a gathering place for friends and families across Newcastle for generations. We’re excited to once again open our doors and welcome our community to their home away from home.”

Honouring the 100-plus years history of the coastal hotel, local design practice EJE Architecture, have worked to bring the pub back to its hey day.Light and airy, the space mimics the curves of seaside topography, while metallic accents pay homage to Newcastle’s steel city legacy.

The pub’s heritage saloon bar, dating back to the 1940s Tooth & Co era, has been revived in a modern zinc expression, with original tile floors polished to show the footprints and graffiti of decades past. Vintage photographs, generously donated by the community and the Merewether Surfboard Club, proudly celebrate The Beach Hotel’s famed surfing heritage, creating a captivating hero’s gallery.

The aesthetic by EJE Architecture blends Newcastle’s industrial grit with its surf culture.

“More than just its Art Deco architecture and iconic views, The Beaches embodies its rich history, shaped by the locals who have passionately claimed it as their own,” stated Piper.

“From the hardworking Novocastrian class to the artists expressing love and dissent through music, from the playful storytellers spinning tall tales to the seekers of flow among surfers and skaters—everyone has and will always find a place here. Our restoration is a tribute to the profound influence of this vibrant community.”

F&B offers

The Beach Hotel’smain bar and pub-dining is located on the ground level with views of Merewether beach. The coastal-led menu features reimagined pub classics and flame-grilled fare inspired by backyard barbeques, including the likes of miso-glazed eggplant, lemon and oregano free-range chicken breast and Hunter Valley T-Bone steaks straight off the grill. The bar offer includes a dedicated margarita menu, and focuses on local beers and Hunter Valley wines.

Larrie’s is a retro takeaway shop that made its debut last May, draws inspiration from iconic Aussie milk bars. Larrie’s offers a modern interpretation of nostalgic beach staples and old-school classics like the chiko roll with curry mayo or the big chip butty, layered with hot chips and tomato sauce. Retro-style fridges are stocked with a variety of Australian beers. Australian Hotelier profiled the Larrie’s offer in its July 2023 issue, which you can view below.

Larrie’s is reminiscent of a 1980s milk bar, and has proven popular with locals since opening in May 2023.

“Larrie’s has definitely hit the spot – it’s been a great opportunity for us to test the waters and get to know this community well before we launched the final chapter for The Beaches. We’ve listened and learnt lots from our locals and it’s even served as a great community hub for the Boardriders to gather, as well as families grabbing a sundae and takeaway meal,” Piper told Australian Hotelier.

“Serving up well known favourites but with a modern twist has been a winning formula. We knew we wanted to create a special hangout at Larrie’s but seeing our little fish and chip takeaway shop make the shortlist for hospitality in The Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) was a pinch me moment.”

But the component that Piper and his team regard as the crowing jewel in the Beach Hotel offer, is new restaurant Peregrin. Under the helm of executive chef Adam Rust, the bar and grill heroes the simple flavours of salt, wood and smoke.

Grilled meats, seafood and vegetables are the stars of the Peregrin menu.

The menu is designed for sharing with snacks to start like smoked Yumba Abalone with fennel, herbs and lemon, or Peregrin’s Bug Roll featuring Moreton Bay bug, cos, crispy onion, and chipotle mayo; followed by charcoal-fired Eastern Rock Lobster served with garlic lemon butter; whole roasted cauliflower topped with salsa verde, currants and almond dukkah; and Milly Hill lamb tomahawks with chimichurri and potato pavé.

The Beach Hotel is one of three pubs within Piper’s hospitality portfolio, which also includes Harbord Hotel in Freshwater – named Pub of the Year at the 2023 Australian Liquor Industry Awards – and the Commodore Hotel in North Sydney.

With the staged renovation complete, Piper says the local community has responded warmly to the pub’s latest iteration, which was a very personal project.

“It’s been amazing, we’ve been overwhelmed with support, and it’s very special to see this venue come back to life – it’s been a huge career highlight for me. The relaunch of The Beach Hotel was in essence a love letter to the community and the characters of Merewether.

“We wanted to give The Beach Hotel back to the community. It’s such an iconic venue that’s been the backdrop to many special moments for so many people, to see this venue heaving again, and with lines around the corner is very affirming that we’ve gone in the right direction. My goal as custodian for this landmark site was that we restore the Beaches to be a true reflection of its history and locals that have always made it their own.”

Check out the profile of Larrie’s in the July 2023 issue of Australian Hotelier below.

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