If the walls of Manly’s Hotel Steyne could talk, they’d have a story or two to tell. Since it opened in 1859, the stalwart has survived fires, floods and a rather rowdy reputation.
“The pub is a significant heritage building for the local area,” general manager Glen Pocklington tells Broadsheet. “But its exterior was in an extremely poor state when [new owners Iris Hotel Group] took over [in 2019].”
After lengthy restoration work was completed last year – with 3500 bricks replaced on the facade, six original Juliette balconies refabricated and the accommodation given a radical revamp – Manly’s most iconic pub was returned to its former glory.
Luchetti Krelle (Bathers’ Pavilion, Matinee Coffee, Ovolo 1888 Hotel), tasked with designing each space, added Miami-inspired pastels and restored art-deco features. The refreshed rooftop bar now boasts uninterrupted views of the beach, metre-long pizzas and live music. Much to the delight of locals, the heritage-listed Round Bar was not really touched.
The 4.5-star accommodation comprises 42 rooms, including ocean view suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and bathtubs big enough for two. Luxurious velvet bedheads and fluted glass give off a Gatsby-esque feel, while the patterned carpet – reminiscent of the kind you’d find in an old-school pub – is somehow completely great.
“Prior to the renovation we had 25 run-down pub rooms, mostly with shared bathrooms,” says Pocklington. “Think a cross between a hostel and a 2.5-star motel.”
Guests have access to a private lounge and patio – the best seat in the house to watch the game on the big screen, with views over the buzzing beer garden below. Or you can head to the rooftop bar and, via a discreet door, stop in at Blacket’s. Named after the pub’s original architect, the dimly lit hidden bar serves whiskies from around the globe, including an 18-year-old Japanese Yamazaki for $120. You can pair your tipple with a premium Cuban cigar, such as the Montecristo No 2.
Downstairs in the Beach Bar and Bistro you can get hand-stretched pizzas, an assortment of fresh seafood, including grilled split prawns with kombu butter, and Hervey Bay scallops served with a cauliflower puree.