The state’s best beer garden is back in business with the new operators reopening the doors of Scarborough Hotel yesterday.
As curious patrons strolled in to inspect and assess the revamped pub, licensee Paul Anzani and business owner Penny Bell raced around with the rest of their staff to iron out a few technology glitches for their first day of trading before the lunch time rush arrived.
Since the previous operators closed the hotel abruptly in February - just weeks after the pub’s beer garden was named the best in NSW by the 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - Mr Anzani and Ms Bell have spruced it up with a lick of paint, a new cafe and a new bistro menu.
They have also removed all the TAB gambling and poker machines and introduced seven-day trading in an effort to attract northern suburbs residents, rather than relying solely on the weekend tourist trade.
‘‘People used to sit in here and eat their fish and chips among TAB TVs and that didn’t work,’’ Mr Anzani said. ‘‘We’re here to connect with residents; being part of the community is what hotels would traditionally do and their business model in the past wasn’t based on gambling.’’
He said the first day’s trade had been a mix of early morning dog walkers dropping in for a coffee in the pub’s new Fort Cafe, several Scarborough residents popping in for lunch and a steady stream of Good Friday tourists heading down the coast keen for a beer with a view.
‘‘So far so good, but as we progress we’ll be ironing out all the little glitches that come with any first day, and then start earning back the trust of the locals by being open all week and having a loyalty system for people who live in the area,’’ Mr Anzani said.