The Old Colonial Inn was a grand place to stay and a highly respected and visited restaurant and venue during its time at 127 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, Australia.
The building was actually built in 1850 as a double story Victorian and began life as the Brunswick Family Hotel. The Brunswick Street and Fitzroy precinct was one of the first highly commercialized areas of Fitzroy. During the 1840’s the area was popularized with shops for food, material and clothing that provided well for residents needs. During the 19th and 20th century Brunswick was one of Melbourne’s prime shopping and dining strips. It was significant for its Edwardian styled architecture and Victorian buildings and homes.
Although the building itself still remains, its familiar yellow façade was closed in 2011. The Inn was popular for its live music, rollicking crowds, bar scene, and decently priced menu. During its heyday, The Inn had a capacity of about 250 people and featured catering as well as in house events in its function room for special occasions, weddings and parties. It was a favorite among residents for its many nightly specials, which included Monday night Poker nights, free pool on Tuesdays, Wednesday trivia nights, Thursday happy hour, and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Lunch and dinner was also served seven nights a week. Part of the Brunswick Street Activity Centre, the Inn formed its niche along with other bohemian cafes, bars and boutiques. The Inn was also in a great location according to public transportation and easily accessed by its walking distance to trams and parking lots.
The hotel was bought by developers in 2012 with intentions of expansion and redeveloping. The Yarra Planning Scheme for the building included some major demolition, and the issue of impact on local amenity has been raised with activists around the area. Some of the complaints involve the addition of a 3:00 A.M. liquor license, inadequate noise control, and no parking provisions for bicycles or cars. Being that it is a densely populated area, residents are not happy about the size and types of changes. Besides that, many other aspects of the building are changing. For instance, the newly renovated building will be three times the size that the existing pub was. The history and character of the building will also be altered. Because of the size, the new Inn will now be able to accommodate over 500 people including patrons and staff. Also planned are outdoor bars and decks for patrons, which raises concerns about noise levels. It does still intend to maintain its presence as a fully functioning hotel with a focus on dining, which is a plus for the busy neighborhood.
The old Inn was cozy and popular and well known for its intimate beer garden out back, and eclectic menu featuring everything ranging from peanut sauce noodles, Italian focaccia, butternut squash soup, and assorted dips. Local musicians made the place a favorite for residents looking for a beer and some relaxation on a Friday evening. Although gone, the history of the Old Colonial Inn lives on in its presence on Brunswick Street.
This site was made possible by the guys at IWantThatFlight.com.au who have donated hosting to keep this alive. They spent plenty of time at the Old Colonial, and wanted to see it remembered the way it was when they were there