The historic Black Swan Hotel of Bendigo officially re-opened Easter Saturday, after six years in the dark and the inspired vision of an enthusiast.

A social centrepiece of Bendigo for decades, holding a rare 5am licence, the Swan shut the doors in early 2017 and failed to reopen.

Dr Dugal James purchased the historic McCrae Street property in 2018, with a sophisticated vision to revive the long-appreciated late-night pub. A substantial renovation was undertaken to restore the property, refurbishing all the facilities and bar areas, and opening it to natural light.

James is one of Australia’s most significant collectors of Indian motorcycles, and key pieces of his collection have made it into the venue’s fitout.

“We have incorporated a range of images, memorabilia and restored bikes into the contemporary decor, creating an inviting space to socialise with friends,” says the Doctor, who tips there is more to come. 

“The bikes add a new element to the historic features of the building, which is primarily a bar with lounge areas at ground level, a function space above, and soon, the fully renovated underground cellar bar will also open to the public.”

Vying to be an attractive space for all ages, the Swan will range light food options, an exclusive local wine and beverage list, and in time live entertainment.

Its opening finally comes after many frustrating delays through COVID, and venue manager Peter Phillips says “patrons love” what has been created.

“We have carefully and deliberately sourced excellent local products to ensure the offering is one of quality and consistency, and that we are showcasing the best of the region,” he explains.

The revived, revised Swan Hotel’s initial trading hours will be Thursday through Sunday, from 11.30am to 11.30pm.

Image: Google maps
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