Iconic pub undergoes a new lease of life 

Iconic pub undergoes a new lease of life 
Brendan Rees

A complete refurbishment is under way at North Melbourne’s historic Court House Hotel with its doors expected to reopen early next year.

The venue’s new management confirmed it had entered a 30-year lease in what it said was an exciting opportunity to keep the pub running.

The news comes as the building, which is believed to have stood at the corner of Errol and Queensberry streets since the gold rush era, was listed for sale in January after having become a COVID casualty.

However, the building was taken off the market with the new management, the Naughton’s Hotel team, having begun works in October to give the pub a new lease of life. 

Ryan Moses, a business partner of the Naughton’s Hotel team which also runs Naughton’s Hotel in Parkville, gave North West City News a recent tour of the building which has been completely gutted and floorboards ripped up.

 

Ms Moses said they were undertaking a “significant cosmetic refurbishment” which will see the building’s charming timber restored and wood panelling kept, as well the main bar’s timber flooring.

 

The kitchen will be refurbished along with the two downstairs dining areas with management aiming to bring more natural light into the second dining area that faces Queensberry St.

Mr Moses said the main bar would be “very much the causal drinking and dining area” while the second bar would primarily be a family friendly space that could be used for functions.

The upstairs area is also being renovated with former backpacker accommodation rooms to be converted into boutique hotel suites – complete with a study and lounges - in the hope of attracting weekenders and interstate visitors.

“I remember coming to this pub in the early to mid 2000s when I just started out in hospitality, and this was one of the pinnacle pubs and dining locations in Melbourne at the time and I absolutely loved it. So, I have these really fond memories of it, a lot of people in the area do too,” Mr Moses said.

 

“As a group we’re really excited to bring some of that back while trying to retain as much as we can throughout the building,” he said.

 

Timber flooring has also been pulled out upstairs which will be reused in other sections of the pub.  

Mr Moses said his team was excited to keep the corner hotel running with too many historic pubs in Melbourne having fallen into the hands of developers.

“It stopped in March 2020; I think they opened a handful of days in between but I think it never really got going again. I think the good news story is that’s its being revived,” he said.

The pub’s revamp comes as the Naughton’s Hotel team recently revealed on social media that it was “busily working away to breathe new life into your old local”. •

 

Caption: Naughton’s Hotel team from left, Ryan Moses, Thomas Sturrock, Laura Berry, and Ryan Berry.    

Photo: Ajay Viswanath.

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John Buncle

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