The Commercial Hotel in Redbank.
The Commercial Hotel in Redbank.

$1 million reno on 110-year-old pub almost completed

THE finishing touches are being put on more than $1 million worth of renovations to a 110-year-old Ipswich pub, but the owners wanted to ensure what made it special wasn't lost.

Owners Gerry Murphy and Phil Cardwell saw the potential of the two-storey Commercial Hotel in Redbank when they purchased it for about $6 million in August.

The pub's past is an important part of its identity but the two business partners wanted to give it a shot in the arm to ensure it was a central point of the growing community.

Historic photograph of the Commercial Hotel.
Historic photograph of the Commercial Hotel.

"There was a bit of damage to the building because it's so old," Mr Murphy said.

"We went through and replaced wooden boards, painted the whole venue inside and out. We put in a new hard wood (bar) counter and new lights outside.

"We've used a lot of recycled wood and neutral colours and old style vintage looking lighting to reflect that feel … and keep with the history of the building.

"All the furniture was made down at the Gold Coast from recycled wood."

The bistro has been given a complete overhaul and changes have been made to make the beer garden more inviting.

Old photos of the pub from the early 1900s have been framed and placed around the pub.

A new sign is being made to put out the front of the hotel and the old one will likely be placed behind the bar.

"We're going to try and hold on to as much of the character as we can and reuse things where we can," Mr Murphy said.

The Irishman said the pub already has a strong local customer base but they were looking to expand that.

Commercial Hotel owners Phil Cardwell and Gerry Murphy.
Commercial Hotel owners Phil Cardwell and Gerry Murphy.

"Back home in Ireland they've got a lot of atmosphere and you feel like you're walking into someone's home," Mr Murphy said.

"Pub is short for public house. Originally they were a house that was made open to the public. That's the way we see it. We see the hotel as a big part of the community.

"It's the city but it feels like a country pub. We want people to feel like it's their second home.

"We didn't want to come here and completely change everything and lose the character of the venue or lose the characters coming into the venue."

Mr Cardwell said they are pushing to get a wider range of music acts performing at the venue, with live music hosted every Friday and Saturday.

"We're becoming known as a music venue," he said.

"Functions are a big part of it now we've fixed out the back."