A fixture since 1862, the Australian Youth Hotel has long been mistaken for a cheap and cheerful hostel. The owners decided to shake off that confusion by rebranding as a gastropub and changing its name to The Glebe Hotel.
Co-owners and brothers Daniel and Zelman Nissen enlisted the help of Sydney-based designers Alexander & Co (responsible for The Imperial Hotel, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room) to revamp the venue’s tired Victorian terrace vibe. As with most pub renovations, it was a delicate balancing act between retaining the historical quirks while asserting the venue as as a modern public bar.
The result is a welcoming upscale pub with nods to the past and the present: there's a working fireplace and chesterfield sofas, portraits of Glebe locals taken by photographer Tom Psomotragos in the public bar, and in the dining room there’s a majestic jacaranda mural painted by local artists Indigo Jo. The upstairs function room, Nude, has artful paintings of naked ladies and lots of velvet in reference to its life as a former brothel, in the 1960s.
“Glebe is a community with a lot of history,” says Daniel, “and we felt The Glebe Hotel reaffirms its historical standing as well as being a better representation of what we are offering.”
A big part of that is the food. Stables Bar and Grill is run by British chef Ben Allcock, and although he hasn’t strayed too far from pub classics, it’s not hostel standard.
“We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, we just want to give someone the best possible pie and mash or a good quality schnitzel,” says Allock.
The menu includes a beef and Guinness pie with mash and onion gravy; seared scallops; handmade gnocchi with roast butternut pumpkin and goats curd; and a steak list featuring quality cuts from Australia and New Zealand. There’s eggplant schnitzel for vegans and vegetarians, a number of bar snacks, and on Sundays expect a roast with all the trimmings.
It’s a formula the Nissen brothers believe will make the pub feel homely. “You’ll always see our mum, sister and Pilot her pug or one of the two of us working alongside our staff,” says Daniel. “My family are pub people, we love pubs and we hope you love our pub too.”
The Glebe Hotel
63 Bay Street, Glebe
(02) 9692 0414
Mon to Fri 11am–12am