The Paragon Hotel, a heritage-listed building in the heart of Circular Quay, is undergoing a major revamp to become an “urban oasis” – including an alfresco terrace and bar, modernised interior, and gastro-pub menu.

Tzannes (ARIA Sydney) is behind Paragon’s redesign and will retain the integrity of the original site while featuring a contemporary blend of dark-grey bluestone flooring, a “living” green wall and a translucent ceiling above the bar.

Dating back to the 1860s, the hotel’s redevelopment will mark a return to its former glory, in line with Circular Quay’s current renaissance, heralded by the Gateway development.

Executive chef Danny Russo (The Oaks) has created a menu that places pizza, shared tapas plates and smoked meats at the forefront, complemented by an extensive wine list, varieties of tap beer and cocktails.

“We are using a lot of fire, wood and smoke and higher-quality meats,” says Russo, who will roast all meat in the new wood-fired oven, and use a smoke oven on trays of salmon, served with bread and sauce.

“It’s not just traditional pub food,” says Russo. “Today, you have a lot of really good chefs going into pubs. It’s changing people’s perceptions of pub food, it’s no longer a counter meal.”

The Paragon will also become an exciting live-music destination with a rotating roster of local and international artists and DJs. “We have got some great headliners booked and we’ll be looking at doing Sunday music sessions to cater to local travellers,” says marketing manager Phillip Burriel.

The Paragon is slated to reopen on September 11.