Dee Why Hotel:
834 Pittwater Road, Dee Why, NSW
(02) 9982 1797 or www.deewhyhotel.com.au
Photography: Shannon Mcgrath
The Dee Why Hotel was famous as a beachside rock ‘n’ roll stopover for a lot of classic Australian and touring international rock acts that rolled through town. But recent plans for the surrounding area meant the old Dee Why Hotel had to close up for three years. It paved the way for a new Dee Why Hotel, rebuilt from the ground up, with an interior designed by Jonathan Richards and Nikki Johns from SJB and built by Arcon Constructions, who Jonathan applauded for the quick turnaround and having a genuine eye for hospitality construction.
When you rebuild an institution, it’s not easy to coax the same punters to settle back in again. On top of that, live music in Sydney isn’t drawing the crowds it used to, so getting back into the groove as a dedicated live music venue was unfeasible. But to keep that spirit alive, SJB brought back the old rock ‘n’ roll posters as makeshift wallpaper, and framed photos of the original venue, the owners, and past punters and bands to bring a sense of history to the lounge. Richards wanted to give the hotel a rougher edge, ensuring that from day one the venue felt alive, authentic, and held a resemblance to the original venue. “The Bayfield family [longtime owners] are real Northern Beaches locals,” said Richards. “The intent wasn’t to draw a city crowd, but to build a venue locals felt comfortable calling their own.” Services in the ceiling have been left visible, and there is a handmade tactility to everything from the Bolon woven flue covering to the glazed bottle green tiles on the wall. There are no veneers here — it’s all hard-wearing solid timber, solid brass, and terrazzo floors with elements of tribal patterns in the upholstery, inspired by pacific island surf culture. And pride of place is a classic island bar, making it the quintessentially Australian beach pub and the perfect place for locals to gather. In the midst of construction, Richards wrote a letter to the project team as a reminder of what they had collectively set out to achieve. A couple of lines read, ‘A venue that is a little raw. A place with authenticity and honesty. Nothing fake or cheap — the real thing. A venue that is just right for Sydney — and couldn’t be anywhere else but Dee Why.’ ’nuff said.