A community haven that encapsulates Freshwater’s rich history and young spirit.
A Freshwater icon is set to reopen this December when Harbord Hotel unveils the first phase of its spectacular and highly anticipated refurbishment. Located just moments away from the beach, Harbord Hotel will encapsulate Freshwater’s rich history and young spirit, offering a laidback haven for Freshie locals just as summer hits.
Undoubtedly one of Sydney’s greatest pubs, Harbord Hotel (formerly Harbord Beach Hotel) has stood proudly as a community landmark for nearly a century, and is now in the dedicated hands of Freshwater locals and new owners Glenn Piper and Lachlan Cottee. Its evolution has been designed with everyone in mind, but locals at the heart, and great time and care has gone into understanding the fabric and stories of the area to help shape the venue’s future. The result is a true beachside haven; a local icon informed by the surf culture that has long been embedded within the venue’s name.
Glenn Piper said: “We are honoured to be the new custodians of a venue that is so entrenched in the Freshwater community. Everyone knows that undeniable Freshwater current – it’s magic, and something that has guided us throughout this process. Life doesn’t need to be complicated when you’ve got the fundamentals down to a fine art. Good mates, great food, cold beer and cracking tunes. And, of course, the ocean”.
Piper continued: “We’re so grateful for everyone’s support and patience this year, and can’t wait to swing open doors and see everyone back enjoying this special venue again”.
The first phase of the venue’s historic redevelopment will see the refurbishment of the ground floor including the expansive main bar and courtyard, and the launch of Balsa, a new casual, coastal dining experience that is set to become the heart and soul of Freshwater.
Designed in collaboration with architects Alexander & Co, Harbord Hotel has taken cues from Freshwater’s history and unique claim as the birthplace of surfboard riding in Australia. Greeted by a mural by local artist Ash Holmes, locals will be able to stroll up straight from the sea, throw their boards down the side and head into the sun-soaked courtyard to refresh and relax. The exterior of the building will have a new sun-bleached identity and portions of the venue that have been covered up for decades will be exposed, revealing memories of bygone coastal flair.
“We want Harbord Hotel to be more than just a pub for our guests. It’s a home, a hangout, a place where you can pop in after a surf and grab a bite to eat, and be on a first name basis with staff, where morning brunch stretches out to the afternoon and daytime turns seamlessly into sundown,” says Piper.
Harbord Hotel’s food is rooted in a reverence for nature, using ethical and sustainable produce to create effortless food with punchy flavours. Head Chef Adam Rust (ex-12-Micron) who grew up and still lives in Freshwater, will harness the simple and natural flavours of salt, wood, and smoke to cook the best ingredients that he can find, sourcing the freshest, finest seafood and foraging along the coastline for herbs. The drinks menu will take the smoke and salt philosophy to the next level, heroing riffs on margaritas, coastal wines and crisp Aussie beers, with a strong representation of non-alcoholic drops.
Embracing its oceanside location, Harbord Hotel’s new restaurant, Balsa, is a nod to the single element we owe the freedom of surfing to – the lightweight wood that transformed chasing sets into a national pastime. Here, Rust, has designed a menu that captures the spirit and flavours of the ocean. Inspired by surf trips barrelling up and down Australia’s East Coast and the US West Coast, Balsa celebrates the mutual influence of American surf culture on Australia and Freshwater’s influence on the world.
Harbord Hotel is gearing for up an incredible action-packed first summer of free events and entertainment. Every set will be a reset, with a strong focus on live music and championing local Northern Beaches talent. People can sign up at www.harbordhotel.com.au to be the first to hear more.
Due to the significance and history of the venue, the team are taking a gradual approach to the venue’s refurbishment. The second phase is set to include a further evolution of the current offering, adding a boutique accommodation building and café. The vision is that Harbord Hotel will continue to be intrinsically linked to its Freshwater roots with a strong community focus and connection to surf culture, helping to support local businesses and reinvigorate the area. Further details will be announced in due course.
Image credit: Jasper Ave