Australian Venue Co has reopened the iconic Claremont Hotel, after nearly three years dark and an amazing $12 million makeover.

A hotel first opened on the site in 1886, but it was demolished and in 1902 the current structure was built, in the Federation Filigree style. It has seen a myriad of changes, to become an institution of Perth’s Western Suburbs.

As the ravages of COVID-19 struck, the big Hotel closed in April 2020. It remained dormant until acquired by Australian Venue Company (AVC) in 2022, as part of the group’s concerted push into Western Australia.

It has now been reimagined with flair, glamour and substantial investment, returning in a way no-one would likely have foreseen, AVC predicts will be a “hospitality hub set to redefine Claremont’s leisure life”.

The two-level pub has been expanded – the floorspace more than doubled, with a capacity for 1,600 people, it has been restored so as to retain the fabric of the heritage building, and it has been modernised and reimagined, via contemporary architecture and significant backing.

AVC’s design brief was simply to “create a landmark pub for locals featuring a bistro, bar and courtyard for indoor and outdoor dining, function spaces and a rooftop bar”.

This has marshalled the return of its historic elegance and period detail, but in a radically re-designed space adorned in subtle finishes of terrazzo, timber, waxed plaster and extensive greenery. Revived original balconies encase sports bars, lounges, a bistro and function spaces, and a rooftop terrace offers openair dining.

The two dining areas will deliver an “unpretentious, produce-led pub menu” supporting local farmers, while highlighting seafood, reflecting its close proximity to the Indian Ocean and Swan River. The kitchen will be steered by AVC executive chef Telina Menzies and head chef Nick Trezise.

Patrons will enjoy ‘touches of glam’ through inclusions such as the roving dessert and cheese trolleys.

Bolstering the drinks menu, AVC’s group sommelier Matt Skinner has ranged over 70 wines, including 20 available by the glass, suggesting The Claremont’s wine list is “a short, sharp dive into Western Australia’s ever-flourishing wine scene”.

AVC unveiled the new iteration Monday and says it is aiming to cater for a variety of experiences.

“It’s a spectacular transformation and I hope it’s something that really resonates with locals, as well as being a destination in Perth,” says group CEO Paul Waterson.

The task to sympathetically reimagine the historic site as a modern hospitality business was a challenge for Perth architectural firm Fratelle, but lead architect Kylee Schoonens reports much of the heritage building fabric has been retained, including the existing roof – showcased in the internal courtyard, the original timber staircase, and historic features such as decorative ceilings, timbers, walls, balustrades and fireplaces.

“Bringing beautiful old pubs back to life is one of our greatest passions as an operator,” furthers Waterson.

“Locals are so supportive of institutions; I absolutely think there is room for more.

“We are constantly on the hunt for new venues with history and heritage we can reinvent in a new way.”

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