Commercial Hotel owners Gerry Murphy and Phil Cardwell. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Commercial Hotel owners Gerry Murphy and Phil Cardwell. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Old pub getting $1 million reno under new owners

PUBS serve as the focal point of rural communties across Australia.

It is much the same in his native Ireland for publican Gerry Murphy.

Alongside business partner Phil Cardwell, the pair are the owners of the Commercial Hotel in Redbank, which dates back to 1910.

Together they are working to cement the pub's place as the focal point in a suburb on the rise, which is only set to get busier with each passing month.

After purchasing the two-storey hotel at the end of August for about $6 million, the pair are overseeing a full renovation of the pub worth more than $1 million.

They sold off a venue in northern New South Wales last year and while looking for their next move, fell in love with the "heritage and history" of the Ipswich establishment.

The duo has a combined experience in the hospitality industry of 60 years and have worked together one and off since meeting two decades ago.

 

Historical photo displayed at the Commercial Hotel at Redbank. Photo: Cordell Richardson
Historical photo displayed at the Commercial Hotel at Redbank. Photo: Cordell Richardson

 

The hotel will still operate while the overhaul is undertaken, which is expected to be completed by the new year.

"At the moment we're painting out the place and putting in all new furniture," Mr Murphy said.

"We've renovated the bistro. We're keeping the heritage of the place but bringing it into modern times as well.

"We've knocked out a wall and put a bifold door in and we've got new beer garden furniture out there. We're going to roof that and put in a lot of festive lighting and plants.

"We're putting a bit of life back into the area and a bit of ambience."

The industrial estate just behind them is only going to get busier in years to come, with Rheinmetall's presence in the area and Australia Post's parcel facility and delivery centre welcoming 500 workers last month.

The aim is to bring in more families through the doors with a strong local customer base already there.

Old photos of the early days of the pub are adorned on the walls of the revamped bistro.

"This whole area is growing," Mr Murphy said.

"500m away that industrial estate is booming. New roads and new buildings are going up every day. That was a big part of our decision.

"About half of the venue was just open concrete with a few tables and chairs scattered around.

 

Historical photo displayed at the Commercial Hotel at Redbank. Photo: Cordell Richardson
Historical photo displayed at the Commercial Hotel at Redbank. Photo: Cordell Richardson

 

"We want to keep the original side that was working so well and add to that. Get the tradies bringing their partners and their kids.

"It's about creating that experience and that's what people want these days. They want to go out and they want to have more than just a blank space with a bar, they want a bit of history.

"Being Irish, the pubs are a big part of the community and we want this venue to be a big part of Redbank.

Mr Cardwell said the pub's staff played a big part in maintaining the hotel and forging strong connections with regular patrons.

The previous owners were based in Western Australia.

"Gerry's background being Irish where the pub is the hub of the community," he said.

"I've always been out west in the country. It's about the same out there.

"It's that country hub of the community that we want to create which is already half here becasuse it's the way the locals are."



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