By Clyde Mooney

Former Australian Prime Minister and beer drinking record-holder Bob Hawke opened The Workers Bar on Wednesday night at the Sydney birthplace of the Labor Party.

The Riversdale Group hosted a gala event boasting guests including the popular Labor Party ex-leader and high-profile partner John Singleton at the newly renovated venue above Balmain's Unity Hall Hotel.

A couple of hundred invited guests packed the hall where the Labor Party movement was first established in 1891, with ALP memorabilia forming aspects of the period decorations. [continues below]

L-R: John Singleton, Rodney ‘Ned’ Kelly (chief operating officer – Riversdale), Bob Hawke, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Coughlan (CEO – Riversdale), Jay Beecroft (operations manager – Riversdale)

Riversdale CEO Paddy Coughlan told TheShout the night was a great success and the venue is another step in the group's unfolding plans.

"It was great to officially launch The Workers with our greatest ever and most popular Prime Minister," said Coughlan.

"However, I'm glad he didn’t challenge me to a sculling race – Hawke and Singo were in fine form… I left them in one of the back rooms smoking cigars at about midnight."

With recent purchases including Marrickville's Vic on the Park and Newtown's famous Marlborough Hotel, Riversdale seem set to continue their push into profitable Sydney venues.

"Now The Workers is open we can turn our attention to the 'Vic' and the Marlborough – both pubs will be getting a makeover.

"The Vic will be an inner-city/music/Newtown Jets sort of cool with a great bistro, whilst the 'Marly' will be an edgy frat party-type vibe, with graffiti, midnight karaoke and the infamous Johnny Wong."

Entertainment at the opening of The Workers included a performance by Tim Freedman of The Whitlams fame.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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