Freshwater’s original shrine by the sea, is now open. Located a short stroll from the shoreline, Harbord Hotel celebrates Freshwater’s surf culture and young spirit, with an expansive main bar, sun soaked terrace, and new restaurant and cocktail bar, Balsa.
Undoubtedly one of Sydney’s greatest pubs, Harbord Hotel (formerly Harbord Beach Hotel) has stood proudly as a community landmark for nearly a century. Under the custodianship of new owners Glenn Piper and Lachlan Cottee, Harbord Hotel’s exciting evolution has been designed with everyone in mind but locals at the heart, and great care has gone into understanding the area’s history to help shape the venue’s future.
The result is a true beachside haven; a local icon informed by the surf culture that has long been embedded in its name; a place where morning brunch stretches out to the afternoon, and daytime turns seamlessly into sundown.
“It has been an incredible first month since swinging open the doors to this special venue. Harbord Hotel has always been so much more than a pub, it is an extension of the area and a second home to many, so it is truly amazing to see our community enjoying it again,” says new co-owner Glenn Piper.
Life doesn’t need to be complicated when you’ve got the fundamentals down to a fine art. Good mates, great food, cold beer, cracking tunes, and of course, the ocean”.
Designed in collaboration with design studio, Alexander & Co, Harbord Hotel takes its cues from Freshwater’s history and unique claim as the birthplace of surfboard riding in Australia. Greeted by a mural by local Northern Beaches artist Ash Holmes, guests will be able to stroll up straight from the sea, throw their boards on the surfboard rack out front, and head onto the sun-soaked terrace to refresh and relax.
The exterior of the building has a new sun-bleached identity and portions of the venue that were covered up for decades have been exposed, revealing a heritage staircase and arches, and memories of bygone coastal flair. The expanded terrace now features an outdoor bar, with more room for guests to sit outside and enjoy the nor’easterly breeze. Inside, the expansive bar area is a true locals hangout and perfect spot to watch sport, with walls adorned with surfing nostalgia and vintage images.
Head Chef and Freshwater local Adam Rust (ex-12 Micron) celebrates the influence of American surf culture on Australia and Freshwater’s influence on the world by delivering classic pub fare with a coastal twist. Think ‘raw tuna tostada, avocado, pickled menu and corn tortilla’, ‘prawn cocktail with North Queensland tiger prawns, Marie Rose sauce, cos and lemon’, ‘potato scallops, wakame-vinegar, salt, aioli’, ‘steak and chips, with 250g grain-fed rump and fried egg’, ‘Green bowl with broccolini, avocado, kale, quinoa, green goddess dressing’ with the option to add wood-fired salmon or rotisserie chicken, and a range of wood-fired flatbreads including heirloom tomato, zucchini flower and ricotta, spiced prawn and prosciutto.
For the early risers, there is a coffee cart and breakfast menu starting from 7am each day, where locals can grab wholesome bites like a ‘chia bowl with roasted peach and coconut yoghurt’, and ‘charred sourdough with avocado, blistered cherry tomatoes, feta and basil’.
Balsa, which will officially open in the coming weeks, pays homage to the single element we owe the freedom of surfing to – the lightweight wood that transformed chasing sets into a national pastime. Here, Rust has designed a menu that captures the spirit and flavours of the ocean, harnessing the simple and natural flavours of salt, wood and smoke to cook up the best and most-ethical local produce he can find. Further details on the launch of Balsa will be announced soon.
Drinks take the smoke and salt philosophy to the next level, hero-ing riffs on margaritas with chilli salt smoked in the wood-fire, coastal and volcanic wines and crisp Aussie beers, alongside a selection of quaffable non-alcoholic drops.
Harbord Hotel is enjoying an action-packed first summer of free entertainment. Every set will be a reset, with a strong focus on live music and championing local Northern Beaches talent including Shag Rock, Aodhan and Great Gable with more to come.
The team is taking a gradual approach to the venue’s refurbishment, and the second phase is set to include a further evolution of the current offering, adding a boutique accommodation building and cafe. The vision is that Harbord Hotel will continue to be intrinsically linked to its Freshwater roots with a strong community-focus and connection to surf-culture, helping to support local businesses and reinvigorate the area. Further details will be announced in due course.
COVID-19: The health and safety of guests and staff remains paramount. The venue will be adhering to all government advice and requirements around COVID-19, and taking every measure to keep the community safe.