Tasmanian Hospitality Review - February / March 2023


A s far as iconic Hobart establishments go, there wouldn’t be too many locals – or visitors for that matter – who wouldn’t have a memorable story or two when it comes to Shipwrights Arms Hotel, The Metz Sandy Bay, Telegraph Hotel or the site of former Observatory nightclub, which is now Franklin Wharf restaurant. From raging late nights, popular DJs and musicians to hearty, well renowned and world class food, the venues are each steeped with rich history. And the one thing they all have in common as 2023 begins is a facelift from major renovations and redevelopments to provide the modern-day punter with experiences they still won’t forget. Having sat idle for five years, the former site of O-Bar and Blue Skies Hotel at 1 Murray St Pier re-opened early last year as Franklin Wharf following an $8 million revamp which took five years and faced lengthy delays with planning appeals and impacts from Covid-19. With a pristine location on the edge of the docks, the venue is a different offering from Pub Banc, which also runs popular Salamanca spots Cargo, Jack Greene and Post Street Social, which is a stones throw from Franklin Wharf. Armed with a restaurant and outdoor dining area downstairs and a 250-seat function room space upstairs with sweeping views of the Derwent, Franklin Wharf is slowly finding its feet after throwing open its doors just months after the state’s own borders re- opening to Victorian and NSW residents just before Christmas in 2021.

“For us, I guess it’s more of a food-based concept because if you look at the rest of Pub Banc’s venues, they’re late-night trading,” Pub Banc managing director Ian Vaughan says. “They have food seven days a week but there’s also late-night trading in there, whereas this place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is shut by 11 o’clock at night. It’s a more casual dining offering with the bar being a second part of the business. “The last couple of months have been positive, December and January have been pretty positive with the good weather. I think the timing after the pandemic and our first winter after the borders opened wasn’t great and the function centre upstairs probably hasn’t achieved what we wanted to achieve just yet, but we’ll get there. I’m positive for this year. The whole waterfront has picked up again with the weather and the fact that I think people were sick of being told what to do and sick of being locked down and sick of the restrictions. “They finally came out in December and in January in pretty big numbers to be honest, it was quite good and we’ve had some good events in [recent weeks] with the Wooden Boat Festival, that for Franklin Wharf is going to be very big because it’s right around the waterfront, and there’s a lot of boats around the pier.” “You’ve got to redevelop and you’ve got to spend the money… if you don’t do it, you’re going to be left right behind.” - Pub Banc managing director Ian Vaughan

9 Tasmanian Hospitality Review Feb/Mar Edition

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