In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Richmond’s Great Britain Hotel has undergone a major makeover – relaunching as retro-inspired space Harlow’s.

The doors were thrown open today for newcomers of all ages to see the recreated versatile venue. Ground floor sees bar and dining area, leading to a sunny courtyard – complete with separate entrance for those leading four-legged guests. Below ground the Basement Bar provides low booth seating and neon mood lighting.

Music is close to the heart of the whole concept, bringing a diverse soundtrack fitting the venue itself.

This is reflected in the menus, producing pub classics with modern twists, presented in courses akin to enjoying a gig; the opening acts burst forth with fried chicken and pickled watermelon, followed by the support act, bringing the H-Low Cheeseburger with special sauce.

Headlining is the likes of the spicy meatball melt, prawn rolls, or the ‘snack pack’ kebab filled with lamb, chips, garlic yoghurt, chilli sauce and cheese. There is also a pre-paid group offering to “BBQ the Harlow way” where executive chef Telina Menzies slings meats on the grill to beats from the 80s and 90s.

The ‘after party’ portion of the menu serves up mini gin and juice pops, and the Big Mess, Harlow’s take on the classic meringue dessert.

On the drinks list – alongside an extensive selection of wines and beers – signature cocktails by Mark Proctor come in three musical themes. The Hip Hop Gin N Juice boasts Four Pillars gin, elderflower and cranberry juice, an ode to Pop, California Girls contains citrus vodka, peach liqueur, pinot gris, orange juice and egg white, and the nod to Heavy Metal, the Voodoo People cocktail whacks white and spiced rums with orgeat and fruit juice.

Tucking into just ten days of trade before festive holidays, Harlow is already gearing up for a summer blitz, offering free entry on New Year’s Eve, and in Aussie tradition, a ‘Backyard BBQ Recovery Session’ on New Year’s Day, starting midday.

“Harlow is all about having a great time, just like your mate’s place you never want to leave,” says manger Ben Hehir.

“We want Harlow to be the place where people can pop in for a casual lunch on a Saturday afternoon and end up dancing the night away, come back in on the Sunday with the fam and do it all over again.”