Beloved North Melbourne pub reopens doors
North Melbourne’s iconic Courthouse Hotel has relaunched after undergoing a major revamp, offering an authentic pub feel that locals have warmly embraced.
The venue at the corner of Queensberry and Errol streets has been turned into a welcoming pub, with an emphasis on keeping the original features intact such as the open fireplace and timber bar.
The pub’s new management, which has entered into a 30-year lease, is the same team behind Naughtons Hotel in Parkville, including Ryan Moses, Rusty Sturrock (head chef), and Ryan and Laura Berry.
Mr Moses said the new-look hotel had been a hit with locals since its relaunch on May 19, with the renovation bringing the pub back to life.
“The support from the local community has been immense. People have been commenting on the warm, cosy, atmosphere with the pub; they are pleased to see it feels familiar but given a really big facelift,” he said.
I think everyone was sad when it closed down a few years ago and what I’m hearing now is that so many people used to come here 10, 15 years ago when it was probably the gastro pub in Melbourne, and they’re really excited to see it back open again.
Mr Moses said the ground floor, which can accommodate up to 80 seated patrons, was up and running while works to refurbish the spaces upstairs, including a private dining room and two boutique guest suites, are expected to be completed by the end of June.
Overall, he said the pub was a unique and authentic venue that celebrated the rich history of North Melbourne.
The original timber bar has been stripped, sanded, and reoiled all by hand – a project Mr Moses described as a “labour of love” that “has come up an absolute treat”.
On the bar is an ale hand pump, a method that has been used for centuries, offering ambient temperature beer that is less carbonated, which Mr Moses said had been “very well received” as “there’s not too many pubs doing that kind of thing”.
The open fireplace has also been reinstated and is alight every night as diners enjoy a gastro-style menu that offers the finest cuts of meat prepared on a parrilla wood-fire grill, which was custom made locally.
In other features, “Cockie” Duggan, the infamous cockatoo who was a long-term resident at the hotel in the early 1900s, has been honoured in a framed artwork that adorns the ground floor dining area where historic photos of North Melbourne are also on display.
The sketch was undertaken by local artist Michelle Sturrock, the mother of Rusty Sturrock.
City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said, “With so many of Melbourne’s heritage pubs coming under threat in recent years, it is with great delight that we welcome the reopening of the Courthouse Hotel.”
“Many of us remember eating here in the mid-noughties when it was considered one of the best gastro pubs in Melbourne. I went back last week with an old friend from that era, and we had a glorious night out.” •