Paddy Coughlan’s pub group has relaunched the historic Botany Bay Hotel after an ownership juggle and “tweaked” refurb.
In August 2015 the Hotel’s freehold and leasehold were sold off by its long-term owner through agents Manenti Quinlan, to a market increasingly desperate for Sydney metropolitan pub opportunities.
The deal saw a new leaseholder close and partially refurbish the operation before encountering personal issues that put the business back in the hands of the new freehold owners.
In recent weeks, We Are Bourke St, headed by pub industry celebrity and former Riversdale chief Paddy Coughlan, took on the lease and executed its own re-vamp, uncharacteristically aiming to merely expand upon what was already a great pub.
“Until now, we’ve been buying venues that need a lot of work, and we then do a complete overhaul,” says Coughlan.
“The bones of this place were great, and we wanted to retain features like the sandstone and timber, which are a nod to the heritage of the venue.
“So this time around we’ve tweaked and freshened up, with the main changes coming in the kitchen via an all-new menu in the bistro.”
Coughlan says the intent is a very family-friendly focus, and “getting the food right” has resulted in the decision for a range of selected pub favourites, rather than a particular cuisine or theme, to give the menu broad appeal.
“We’re a community pub and we wanted a menu that’s varied enough to allow locals to dine here a few times a week – whether it’s for lunch or dinner – and have plenty of options and flavours to choose from.
“The beer garden is hugely popular and we’ve been surprised at how many young families live in the area.”
Chef Ernie Priestly has been installed to run the kitchen. He has worked with Coughlan previously at the Marlborough and his current love, the Lord Gladstone, and will be bringing his “famous” cheeseburger to the party. The Classic Cheeseburger comprises a beef patty, Swiss cheese, double American cheddar, pickles, onion burger sauce, ketchup and yellow mustard on a sesame seed milk bun.
One highlight of the dessert menu is the decadent deep fried Golden Gaytime.
The Botany Bay Hotel was established in 1865, and boasts a rich history centred in Australia’s colonial past. The long association with rum, beer and wine will continue to be part of the pub’s brand.