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DESIGN & BUILD
Lucas Reid: It has to be the front bar. It has great natural light with space to stand at the bar and enjoy a beer with your
mates, have a quick counter lunch with some friends, share a glass of wine with your wife at a low table, or a coffee in the
sun on the bench seating. It is a space that feels great during the day, afternoon and night.
Jessica Griffey: I love the tile used on the front of the main bar and bistro bar. I basically found this tile and based my
whole design around it, always referring back to it when design changes had to be made throughout the project.
Leigh Dufty: The retractable roof in the beer garden was a special feature which no other pub in Warrnambool has.
Exposing the sandstone walls in areas was a real feature too, especially the sandstone fireplace.
disused function space area. Once complete, the old TAB and public bar
were given a new lease on life as the bistro and a small private dining/
conference room. Also added was a beer garden with retractable roofing,
an outdoor fireplace and overhead heating so that the space remains a
viable option for patrons at any time of the year.
Each of these new areas cater to a variety of experiences so that the
patron base has broadened. The TAB opens at 7:30am daily to retain the
strong focus on local horse racing. The bistro has widened its menu so
that it not only includes traditional pub fare, but now also has vegan and
gluten-free options. A point was made to include durable floor coverings
so that tradespeople didn’t feel uncomfortable entering the pub with the
worry that they would make a mess. An area was included for teenagers
to play pool and arcade games. Live music is played in the beer garden to
cater to the weekend crowd.
All of these changes have attracted a larger crowd, with the assumption
that some of the patrons are coming from the other eight pubs in
Warrnambool. However Reid thinks that some of their new patrons have
come from elsewhere. “I also think we are getting clientele back to the
hotel from a restaurant/club environment. Our clientele is very diverse.”
When working with such an old building, there is so much more to consider
than your normal renovation. Having experience with working with older
buildings, Bolden Constructions were brought in to oversee the entire
renovation. Because of its age, the building was largely made of sandstone –
a material that the contractors had dealt with many times in the past.
“The hardest part was working with multiple additions to the
buildings, which have been added over the past 50 years. The clients
were happy to remove all add-ons from previous years and try to get the
building back to its original state before constructing the extensions,”
explained Leigh Dufty of Bolden Construction.
In homage to the original Caledonian Hotel, many aspects of
construction were based around the hotel’s heritage. Stonemasons
repaired sandstone walls that were to be exposed. One window was even
filled with sandstone reclaimed from the site so that it would make for a
feature wall. Plasterers spent hours patching and fixing original cornice
and mouldings, both in the interior and on the exterior of the building.
The decision was made to use solid plaster instead of gyprock plaster
on all walls that needed minor and major patching. “This is a more
expensive option but it continued the traditional building practice used in
the old building,” stated Dufty.
To make the renovation a bit more of a challenge, the works needed
to be completed within a tight timeframe, and the hotel was to remain
operational throughout. The works were to start after the May races and
had to be finished by Caulfield Cup Day, 17 October. The main areas –
the TAB, public bar, kitchen and function room – were all completed by
this date, with other internal renovations complete by mid-December.
A temporary kitchen was set up in a shipping container attached to the
old public bar while the new kitchen and dining areas were constructed.
“We only missed one dinner service during the renovations,” said Reid.
“At times we only had thirty seats in the public bar for meals, but the bar
was not closed a single day.”
The retractable roof in the beer garden
ensures it can be used in any weather
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