Sydney’s Inner West Council will grant heritage protection to 27 local pubs to protect the area’s “famous pub culture” and act as a bulwark against the potential redevelopment of much-loved watering holes.
A four-year process has determined the list of pubs to be protected, with seven in Balmain, six in Rozelle and four in Newtown – including the former site of the Sandringham Hotel, once a famous live music venue, which is now a mini golf course.
Some pubs are already in protected monuments but will now be explicitly protected under the local council’s environmental plan. Councilors will sign off on the list at a meeting Tuesday evening – the recommendation of a 500-page report from heritage advisers GML.
It comes four years after a public outcry over the redevelopment of the Town Hall hotel in Balmain, built in 1879, which was converted into a gym, massage parlor and bottle shop. At the time, Mayor Darcy Byrne feared a “snowball effect” would develop clean up the legendary cafes of the inner west.
“We have to draw a line in the sand and prevent that from happening,” he said. “There is a strong view that we cannot let our pub culture go out the back door.”
Three pubs in Enmore will be Grade II listed – the Warren View, Duke of Enmore and the Queens Hotel – as well as the Vic on the Park and Royal Exchange in Marrickville, the Lewisham Hotel, the Annandale and North Annandale hotels, and Newtown’s Websters Bar, Kelly’s on King and the Carlisle Castle Hotel.
Many other inland pubs are already heritage listed. The GML study examined 29 additional sites and recommended only two: the Red Lion Hotel on Darling Street, Rozelle, and the Merton Hotel on Victoria Road, also in Rozelle.
Pub prices are running high, and the? Herald reported earlier this month that nearly $2 billion in assets had changed hands in the past year. Pub baron Arthur Laundy bought the Hunts Hotel in Liverpool for about $45 million, while the Oaks in Neutral Bay is up for sale for $175 million.