In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Erskineville’s historic Kurrajong Hotel – aka the Swanson – has returned with a new lease on life after some serious renovation.

Built in the 1930s, the big, multi-storey corner pub is one of Sydney’s Art Deco classics, replete with ornate parapets and curves constructed in brick, and burnt yellow tiles skirting its façade at street level.

The former Swanson Hotel, previously operated by Balmain Pub Group, closed following its sale in mid-2017, with rumoured plans for a five-storey residential structure above the old local. The plans were eventually put on hold amid public backlash.

The operation was subsequently taken on by Clare and Brett Davis, of Newtown small bar Gurdys fame.

Beyond determining to return the pub to its original moniker, the Kurrajong Hotel, the couple undertook a comprehensive makeover requiring completely gutting the interior. They worked to revive viable heritage features including original floor and wall tiles.

In a pitch to the inner-west demographic, the poker machines have gone in favour of a new kids’ playroom, and the new bar will be pouring from taps offering rotating crafty brews and Australian-made wines.

In the new kitchen new head chef Daniel Lanza will be serving up “pub grub done well with a Mediterranean feel” using all sustainably and locally sourced produce.

After considerable hurdles and some last-minute delays to the opening, the Kurrajong Hotel reopened for business on 10 August. PubTIC was unable to establish contact today prior to publication.

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