By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
WDS Hotels have reopened the Fortune of War, a pub in Sydney’s The Rocks, after a massive renovation of the hotel, focusing mainly on historical aspects and back-of-house operations.
The hotel had been closed for 14 weeks while the renovations were undertaken, but reopened to the public on Saturday 8 October. It was the first time the hotel had had significant work done to it since the 1920s.
Bucking the trend of ultra-modern pub interiors, the renovations at the Fortune of War have focused on the historical aspects of the pub, sticking to a traditional colour palette, using warm timbers and keeping original tiles where possible.
A major part of the renovations consisted of upgrading utilities and back-of-house spaces, including the installation of a brand new cool room and air conditioning throughout the venue, and upgrades to electrical, lighting and sound systems.
Steven Speed, director of WDS Hotels, suggested that the works have maintained the character of the pub, while allowing it to operate more efficiently.
“As business owners we live, love and enjoy this place as much as the customers do so we wouldn't dare change its appeal. Our special little gem has traded non-stop since the early 1920s and the equipment behind the scenes was pretty much buggered! Much of the work completed won’t be seen from the surface as it is largely in the basement and behind the bar. But it will be felt – the changes are all designed to make the experience better for our customers.”