End of an era for city pubs
ROLL out the barrels is taking on new meaning in Ipswich this Christmas as three pubs close their doors, a sign of the times for traditional pubs in regional centres.
Owners of the City View Hotel said it was not likely the hotel would reopen as a traditional pub and are weighing up options for the heritage-listed site.
The George Brockwell Gill designed hotel, with its distinctive octagonal corner tower, was built in 1908.
Owners Robert Walker, Greg Rowan and Wayne Patch agree changes to drink driving laws and smoking regulations and hard economic times have slowly wound down the viability of the hotel industry in regional city centres.
"The days of blokes knocking off work and coming into the pub of an afternoon and having a half a dozen, that doesn't happen by rule because they can't get home," Mr Patch said.
"The police are vigilant in their drink driving enforcement, you can't smoke inside a venue. I can understand why the rules were brought in but they are not conducive to traditional pubs.
"People just won't come off the street and come in to help the publican. There has to be something that attracts them, whether it be food or entertainment.
"Pubs that open from 10am to midnight in an inner city environment these days will just go down the gurgler.
"You've got to look at the European model and diversify from just being a traditional pub."
City View owners are looking at options for opening a restaurant in the hotel or possibly developing accommodation around the building.
The hotel is still holding private functions and accommodation upstairs is fully booked.
Mr Rowan said there were opportunities for a coffee shop in the front bar and a steakhouse barbecue grill at the main bar.
Owners and the licensee of The Prince of Wales Hotel could not be contacted for comment.
Built in 1862, it was originally called the Union but when the Prince of Wales visited Ipswich in 1920, the owners changed the name.
Council-owned company Ipswich City Properties take over Murphy's Town Pub on Monday. Originally the Commonwealth Hotel, Murphy's will close for extensive renovations and is set to reopen in the first half of next year.
Former hotels in the region
Sawyers Arms, Carriers Arms, Highland Home, Swan, Shamrock, Cottage of Content, Engineers Arms, Red Cow, Bulls Head, Queens Arms, North Australian, Tattersalls, North Star, Churchill, Belle Vue, Railway, Queensland Arms, Criterion, Grande, the Post Office and Royal George at Marburg, the Railway Hotel at Harrisville and the Commercial at Rosewood.