After being closed for a year, the popular PJ Gallaghers Irish Pub at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter is undergoing renovations by its new leasehold owners.

The pub, located centrally in the Moore Park entertainment and sporting hub, is set to launch in August at the end of an extensive renovation. It will also be renamed Watson’s.

Michael Watson of Wats On Events and Danny Stapleton, director of the NRL team Wests Tigers, have taken on a ten-year leasehold of the pub, which has historically been heavily frequented after nearby sporting matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground or Sydney Football Stadium, as well as concerts and exhibitions held at Hordern Pavilion and Fox Studios.

Following on from an incredibly tough year for events, Watson decided the time was right to pivot to the operation of a family friendly venue, that would benefit from his experience within events. Long-time friend Stapleton backed his vision for the renowned space in the Entertainment Quarter.

“We envisage a revitalised space that is both pleasing to the eye and approachable. Whilst making use of the pre-existing bones, the space will be transformed into a bright, fresh, sophisticated, yet comfortable and relaxed venue.

“We want to create a venue that caters to the diverse crowds that frequent The Entertainment Quarter but more importantly create a brand and offering that holds its own and will hopefully become the ‘new local’, the perfect place for a meal with the family, drinks with your mates or a place to celebrate your next special event,” stated Watson and Stapleton.

The renovation of the two-storey pub is under way, with a revamp of the public bar and dining space on the ground floor, as well as a spacious redesign of the functions and events space on the first floor. The beloved beer garden surrounded by Moreton Bay fig trees is also getting a refresh, with two timber-clad decks, plenty of seating and numerous screens to broadcast sporting matches – including one mega al fresco screen.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new pub and event space to the Entertainment Quarter, and the team at Watsons are producing something truly exceptional. The team at Watsons are creating a space that is perfect for families, the businesses around EQ and our millions of guests that enjoy the fun at The Entertainment Quarter each year. We can’t wait to awaken such an iconic venue inside the Entertainment Quarter precinct, and give new life to our community here in Moore Park,” stated Entertainment Quarter CEO Guy Pahor.

The pub will reopen in anticipation of the return of larger crowds at the SCG in the second half of the year, as well as the much anticipated reopening of the SFS in 2022.