By Alesha Capone
The iconic Bridge Hotel in Werribee is set to re-open next week.
The hotel’s managing director Stephen Mitchell said the venue would open its doors to the public on Monday, November 2.
The Watton Street hotel was originally built around 1926, on the site of the nineteenth-century bluestone Camp Hotel.
Wyndham council purchased the Bridge Hotel site for $5.4 million during 2016.
In 2018, the MoL Pub Group – which also operates hotels in Fitzroy, Richmond and Prahran – began negotiating with the council to become the Bridge’s new operator.
The council went on to select the MoL Pub Group for the role, and renovation works at the historic Werribee hotel began earlier this year.
Mr Mitchell said the MoL Pub Group has worked closely with Wyndham council during the renovation period.
“It certainly has been a long, hard process – there has been a lot of work into going to create a great venue and the process of opening up the doors to the people of Werribee,” he said.
“The key message for us is that we want to be part of the community and a meeting place and watering hole for the community.”
Mr Mitchell talked with Star Weekly on Friday, around two days after the Bridge Hotel announced its re-opening date on social media.
“Since we announced the opening, the response has been really overwhelming,” he said.
“We’ve had loads of requests for bookings in the opening week and we’re booked out across some key sittings”
Mr Mitchell said the hotel had even been contacted by a couple booking in for a meal to celebrate their wedding anniversary, after they first met at The Bridge around 15 years ago.
Mr Mitchell said the MoL Pub Group hoped that the Bridge Hotel would become a destination for the wider Wyndham community.
“The style of our pubs is that we see ourselves as quintessential neighbourhood pubs, but we like to see a bit more in terms of food offerings,” he said.
He said the hotel’s menu would include classic pub food, such as burgers and club steak sandwiches, “and some dishes that are real restaurant-quality dishes”.
“For the beverage list, we’re going to have some interesting craft beers on tap and the wine list will include wines people might not have seen before, from small-batch wine producers,” Mr Mitchell said.
He said the Bridge Hotel would also be offering cocktails on tap. Staff will the cocktails mix in-house, using fresh fruit and syrups, before they are transferred to the kegs.
Mr Mitchell said that it was anticipated the hotel, when it was fully up and running, would hire at least 50 staff, plus contractors such as tradies, landscapers and cleaners – and, down the track, hopefully entertainers.
“There has been a huge response to the job ads we put out,” Mr Mitchell said.
He said that the hotel intended to hire as many local residents as possible, as that tended to make venues more welcoming.
Wyndham council’s director of deals, investments and major projects, Kate Roffey said it was great to see the “iconic Werribee venue” reopening next month.
“We want to make sure residents are encouraged to stay in Wyndham to socialise and celebrate, not feel they need to head into Melbourne,” she said.
“The Bridge Hotel will create a fresh, exciting and contemporary venue for our community to enjoy – complementing the existing businesses in the Werribee City Centre.”
Ms Roffey said the MoL Group have developed a strong reputation for delivering high-quality and contemporary venues.
“There are already a range of fantastic businesses operating in Werribee and we know the reactivation of the Bridge Hotel as a high-quality food and beverage offering will bring more people to the area – which is a win for all businesses,” she said.
“As a council we are working toward the development of a more vibrant and liveable city centre, and our work with the MoL Group at the Bridge Hotel is a critical part of this rejuvenation.”