Back in August last year, Merivale slipped the news that it'd be taking over much-loved northern beaches pub The Collaroy. It then closed the doors to the beachside boozer so it could undergo a revamp — and now, it's finally set to reopen.
During the past few months, the Justin Hemmes-led team has been busy sprucing up The Collaroy — but it maintains that the pub's easy-going, community-friendly atmosphere will remain intact. Just like before, you'll feel comfortable taking a dip at the beach, before spending the rest of the day (and maybe night) drinking at your leisure.
Downstairs, executive chef Jordan Toft has organised a menu that will change throughout the day. Kick into the morning with the ultimate post-surf feed: brekkie pizzas. They'll be accompanied by coffee, juice and house-made pastries. Lunch will see cafe-style fare come to the fore, with healthy bowls like muesli with dried fruits, nuts and coconut yoghurt, ortoasted faro with avocado, boiled egg, rocket, haloumi, olive oil and lemon.
When darkness falls, the kitchen goes into gastropub mode, serving up things like anchovy toasts with pickled shallot and hearty pub meals, which will change daily. On Monday, you might be digging into lamb and eggplant moussaka, then, on Tuesday, pork and fennel sausages with roasted pumpkin and green garlic.
Meanwhile, upstairs, where the beach views are uninterrupted, there'll be two bars and an open kitchen. Go for a woodfired pizza created by Italian chef Vincenzo Biondini or a burger from the bar menu. If you'e looking to get a bit fancier, take a seat in the restaurant, to linger over oysters, local seafood, charcoal grill and salad. Taking care of the drinks menu is a team of bartenders from Merivale's other venues; look out for plenty of crisp whites, roses and summery cocktails.
The acquisition of The Collaroy is a sure sign that Merivale is planning to beef up its northern beaches portfolio — it already operates The Newport and Bert's in Newport and has just closed Papi Chulo in Manly to make way for a second Queen Chow. This is on top of the group's other recent buys: Woollahra's Hotel Centennial, Bondi's Royal Hotel, The Vic on the Park in Marrickville and The Tennyson on Botany Road.
The Collaroy will reopen on Saturday, May 19.