With many of Sydney’s most famous pubs carrying a pension card nowadays, there comes a time when a facelift becomes a necessity. While there are many a pub reno that is a complete overhaul that tears at the fabric of the venue’s nostalgia, many renovations remain true to the pub’s roots, congruent with the regulars that frequent the TAB area every afternoon at 2 o’clock. The Royal Richmond Hotel has recently undergone one of these particular overhauls, with the pub’s character remaining very much intact.

Masterminded by South Coast interior designer Victoria Hampshire and Axil Architects’ David Herron, the first stage of renovations are complete, with a brand new gastro pub bistro and cocktail bar open for business. Briefed by owners Peter Wynne and Karen Anderson, who previously ran Martin Place Bar in Sydney’s CBD, Hampshire and Herron have combined classic pub chic with a contemporary mindset to craft a pub that champions local townspeople and their produce. 

royal richmond bistro

The new bistro is now awash with natural light, thanks to a glass atrium-style roof. Reusing the century-old Oregon timber beams of the original build, the bistro has been uplifted by American Oak parquetry flooring, banquette seating and oversized family-style dining tables made from Elm and locally reclaimed timbers. Recycled bricks further the sustainable efforts of Herron to form a mix of textures that are rugged and honest, creating an aesthetic that pays tribute to the pub’s working class heritage.

The new cocktail bar references classic 19th century English pub culture within a modern context. Deep green walls, timber-clad fireplaces, brass light fittings, rich turquoise tartan carpet, a heritage wood panelled bar with stunning brass bottle display and window seating overlooking Richmond Park make for a cocktail bar experience that bucks the trend of sleek, LED-rich glassy-textured cocktail bars of the inner city. 

royal richmond cocktail bar

Both bistro and cocktail bar have their walls lined with framed archival images of the pub over its many years, along with historic photos sharing stories and memories from the local community of Richmond, one of Australia’s oldest towns. Additionally, the original sports bar that was erected in 1848 received a refurbishment, to ensure it isn’t left behind amongst all the renovation.

A 170-year-old pub, the Royal Richmond has been a cornerstone of Sydney’s north-west for locals and travellers alike. Publican Peter Wynne says it’s place in the community cannot be understated.

“The pub is loved by the locals and has a rich and colourful history. We’re thrilled to be able to continue this tradition, while creating something special for locals to enjoy - whether it’s a quiet bite and casual beer or a special occasion celebration.”

The bistro’s large open kitchen is led by General Manager Todd Garratt (Fish Butchery, Balcon by Tapavino, Buzo, Wine Library) and delivers an all-day menu celebrating the abundance of local produce from the Hawkesbury region. Small-scale local farmers, fishermen, producers and distillers are featured prominently on the menu.

The Royal Richmond Hotel is also producing charcuterie in-house, and carefully sourcing a selection of pasture- and grain-fed meats for the bistro’s dry-aging cabinets, with a particular focus on collaborating with the Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Campus farm management program.

Stage two renovations of the Royal Richmond are scheduled to be completed in 2022, and will see the outdoor marquee area transformed into an all-weather beer garden that will become the hub of the venue’s music and entertainment program.