The Harbord Beach Hotel – now simply called the Harbord Hotel – has stood a few blocks from Freshwater’s beachfront since 1928. And until 2020, it hadn’t changed hands since the ’80s.
Co-owners Glenn Piper and Lachlan Cottee bought the hotel in 2020 and reimagined it while respecting its history. The pair drew inspiration from a defining moment for the Freshwater community, when American tourists came during the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and brought a Malibu surfboard made of balsawood. A group of local boardshapers started replicating those American boards and now six of them are displayed around the hotel.
In revamping the Harbord, the new owners also rediscovered and restored many its heritage elements, including original arches and more of the pub’s signature breezeblocks.
Chef Adam Rust’s (ex-12-Micron) pub menu bridges the gap between pub classics and contemporary Australian coastal fare. Long lunches on the pretty verandah might feature North Queensland tiger-prawn cocktails; green bowls with woodfired salmon; or raw tuna tostadas. Woodfired flatbreads come topped with zucchini flowers and ricotta, or prosciutto, roasted peach and gorgonzola. But the hotel is equally a place for barefoot surfers to prop their boards on the outdoor racks and come in for a rump steak with chips, or potato scallops with wakame vinegar and salt.
In the bar, Margarita glasses are rimmed with smoked-chilli salt; a concise wine list complements the food menu; and Sydney breweries such as Young Henrys, Batch and Philter are tapped alongside Coopers and Tooheys New.
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