In Innovation by Clyde Mooney

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Merivale’s much-anticipated The Collaroy has swung open its new doors over the weekend, bringing some Pavilion magic to the Northern Beaches, and gratitude from Mr Hemmes.

The Waugh’s Public House Management Group listed the beachside pub mid-2017, and buoyed by the successes of the newly-reopened The Newport, Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes swooped, with ideas for increasing the appeal of the northern peninsula through synergy.

“We need to create destinations for the local community, because that’s what makes a suburb more vibrant,” noted Hemmes. “I’m going to create something that will complement Newport.”

Seeing potential akin to the Group’s amazingly popular pub in the eastern suburbs, the king of hospitality cited plans for a northern instalment.

“To me, this site feels like Coogee Pavilion … it’s an iconic location, it’s right on the beach and there’s a great local community that needs a place to go.”

The Collaroy Hotel, established 1920, has seen a tumultuous past decade. The venue’s offering fell increasingly out of step with the changing and predominantly affluent local demographic, and the partially renovated hotel found its way into receivership.

In 2010 Mitchell Waugh and investors purchased the then Surf Rock Hotel via receivership auction, for $7.5 million. Working for several years to secure a DA, in 2013 they began a transformative $6 million renovation, reopening late 2014 as the Collaroy Beach Hotel, which later became simply The Collaroy.

The new offering achieved new engagement with the close-knit Beaches populace, and went on to win Best Redeveloped Hotel at both the AHA NSW and National Awards for Excellence.

Immediately following the $21 million purchase from Public House, Hemmes boarded up the pub and dove into the “couple of changes” he foretold.

On Friday (18 May) it reopened, welcoming yet another new generation of appreciators to the sandy foot pub, facing east overlooking Collaroy beach.

In keeping with Merivale’s modus operandi, the latest creation is driven by multiple menus, which change throughout the day, all under the watchful eye of executive chef Jordan Toft.

Street level opens with breakfast, shifting into lunch, evening and late-night menus. The first-floor dining area boats sweeping ocean views, flanking the open plan kitchen and serviced by two bars, and holds its own day and night menus specialising in seafood, and meats from the charcoal grill.

Merivale’s ever-popular Vinnies Pizza is in the house, serving authentic wood-fired creations by pizza maestro Vincenzo Biondini.

The revised design was a product of Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative, Amanda Talbot, Justin Hemmes and his sister, Bettina, and features decadent greens and blues throughout, inspired by the spectacular view.

Australian artist Craig Parnaby was engaged to produce the figurative and nostalgic themed murals adorning the walls inside and out, which also feature on the menus.

Furthering the pledge for community, The Collaroy supports local community groups including Sargood Foundation, Collaroy Cougars, Long Reef Boardriders, Collaroy SLSC & Ikaika Outrigger Club.

And free transport to The Collaroy is provided from The Newport every Friday and Saturday night, with a bus beginning trips after 10pm.

Speaking of the opening weekend, Hemmes told PubTIC it was a perfect reawakening.

“Surpassed all my expectations. A fabulous crowd creating such a great vibe.

“And the perfect weather didn’t go unnoticed 😉 thanks for having us in your neighbourhood, Collaroy.”

The Collaroy. First-floor dining area