A major transformation of one of the country's oldest continuously operating pubs has arrived to give you a whole new reason to make tracks for the Blue Mountains—with a tasty pitstop along the way.
Steeped in colonial history, Richmond is the third-oldest British settlement in Australia. Located at the foot of the Blue Mountains, this area was first home to the Darug people, before settlers appeared around 1791, establishing townships along the Hawkesbury River (or Deerubbin in the Darug language). At about 50 minutes' drive from the Sydney CBD, it's a neat spot for a weekend day trip or rest stop for longer journeys out west.
And this month, an awesome pub transformation is giving you all the more reason to stop in. The Royal Richmond, on the main street of historic Richmond town, is one of the area’s oldest watering holes—and yep, at more than 170 years old, it’s one of the oldest in the country too. Now, the pub has relaunched under the direction of former Martin Place Bar owners, Peter Wynne and Karen Anderson.
Without losing the pub's iconic heritage roots (you'll still see original Oregon timber beams and oak parquetry flooring), Berry-based interior designer Victoria Hampshire and Sydney-based architect David Herron of Axil Architects have carefully brought the age-old boozer forward in time with recycled brick walls, cosy banquette seating, and oversized family dining tables fashioned from locally reclaimed timbers.
Overseeing the new gastro-pub style bistro is General Manager Todd Garratt (whose resume lists off Fish Butchery, Balcon by Tapavino, Buzo, and Wine Library). Beneath a sunlit glass atrium-style roof, the all-day menu heroes local Hawkesbury produce. Think vegetables from Block 11 Organics on the banks of the river, school prawns from Gary Howard in Lower Portland, bread from Colo River Bakery, and gin from Karu Distillery in Grose Vale. The hotel is also curing its own meats with in-house dry ageing cabinets.
On the menu are pub classics—free-range chicken schnitzel, parmigiana, beef nachos, a BBQ beef burger, pizzas (with gluten-free bases available), and beer-battered fish and chips. For max wintery vibes, there's also a selection of hearty pastas, an eggplant, ricotta, and spinach lasagne, and a butcher's selection of dry-aged cuts with sides like buttery mash and fries.
As well as the bistro, the reno also includes a brand new winter-ready cocktail bar, complete with timber-clad fireplaces, tartan carpet, a heritage wood-panelled bar, and window seating with a pretty view of Richmond Park. Here you can tuck into bar snacks like country terrine, cheeseburger spring rolls, and a mortadella and beer mustard panini.
Still to come with stage two of The Royal Richmond Hotel is an all-weather beer garden and the hub of the pub's live music program.
For more info, including opening hours, jump over here.
Now, check out this list of our favourite country pubs worth the road trip.
Image credit: The Royal Richmond Hotel