The historic Royal Richmond Hotel is due to launch its new bistro and cocktail lounge in a matter of weeks.
Established in 1848 and one of the country's oldest pubs, the Royal has been undertaking 12 months of extensive renovations led by new owners Peter Wynne and Karen Anderson.
After taking the reins in September 2019, Peter and Karen have breathed new life into the historic pub on Windsor Street.
The Royal has been continuously operating since it was first licensed. The site of the pub was first granted in 1811, following the development of Richmond as one of Governor Macquarie's Five Hawkesbury Towns.
The land remained undeveloped for several decades but was utilised for recreation by the Wesleyan Church in this time.
The first known building to have been constructed was the pub, the main fabric of which is still standing today.
It was built with several outbuildings including horse stables and a piggery, which are thought to have stood until the 1950s
From the 1970s this area was used as a carpark, which has now been cleared to make way for the new beer garden.
The May 17, 1884 edition of the Hawkesbury Chronicle and Farmer Advocate said the Reid family was the first to run the pub.
It was written that the Royal was "One of the best hotels inland, in the Colony, and second to none in the district" and the family spared no expense to make the hotel "what we have described it to be - a right, Royal Hotel".
The pub was extended on and updated both in the 1890s and again in the 1950s, keeping the original heritage framework.
Historically, the pub served Tooth's beer from Tooth and Co, one of Australia's oldest companies (established in 1835) and Resch's (taken over by Tooth and Co in 1929, and now produced by Carlton and United Breweries) which it still serves to this day.
The much-loved venue has undergone a face-lift to its VIP lounge and traditional sports bar, whilst an outdoor courtyard dining space has been created offering pub food fare.
Yet to come is the new indoor glasshouse-style bistro with a state-of-the-art kitchen, and revamped cocktail bar.
Designed by interior architect Victoria Hampshire and David Herron of Axil Architects, the bistro will feature leather banquette seating and oversized family-style dining tables made from elm and locally reclaimed timbers.
The Kitchen will be led by GM Todd Garratt (formerly of Fish Butchery, Balcon by Tapavino, Wine Library and Buzo) and Head Chef Anthony Tanielu (formerly of Spice Temple and Thievery).
The new all-day dining menu will have a focus on produce from the Hawkesbury basin and include an exceptional dry-aged meat offering in the kitchen's new ageing cabinets.
"I have been talking to local producers about incorporating their products into our food and drinks," said Todd.
"We are excited by the opportunity and possibilities that come with being in this area.
"We want this to be a place for everyone. Not just a pub for some but welcoming to anyone that comes in."
The cocktail bar features wood-panelled fireplaces, brass light fixtures, rich tartan carpeting and a beautiful custom made brass bottle display.
After the sale of Martin Place Bar in Sydney's CBD, Peter and Karen had been searching for some time for their next venture.
"Walking into The Royal Richmond Hotel, you immediately sense just how important the pub is to the locals and the incredible role it has played in the town over two centuries," Karen said.
"We wanted to honour this connection by delivering something special back to the community, while still embracing the heritage and soul of the old girl.
"It's been an honour and privilege to bring the pub into this new phase of its life."
The Royal Richmond Hotel is open 10am to 3am Monday to Saturday and until midnight on Sunday, while the kitchen is open 11am until late every day.