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Harbord Hotel

The historic northern beaches pub has reopened with a sunny terrace, live music and a spot to leave your surfboard.
By Marissa Ciampi
January 11, 2021
By Marissa Ciampi
January 11, 2021

A coastal mainstay has returned to the northern beaches just as the region exits its weeks-long lockdown and the city is (finally) blessed with summer weather. Freshwater's almost century-old pub Harbord Hotel (fka Harbord Beach Hotel) was bought by real estate investors Glenn Piper and Lachlan Cottee earlier this year — and it's now swung open its doors, offering a surfy atmosphere, sun-filled spots to eat and drink and a soon-to-open restaurant and cocktail bar.

Occupying the new-look ground floor is a sprawling main bar, summery terrace and Balsa, a seafood restaurant and bar that is set to open in the coming weeks, which will serve up a menu starring foraged coastal herbs and sustainably sourced produce with salt, wood and smoke at the forefront. The drinks menu will follow a similar theme with margaritas rimmed with smoked chilli salt, volcanic coastal wines and crisp Australian beers on the docket. A dedicated list of non-alcoholic drops will also be on offer.

At the main bar, patrons will find a menu crafted by head chef (and Freshwater local) Adam Rust (ex-12 Micron) that delivers coastal twists on the classic pub feed. From your classic steak and chips done right to the green bowl with broccolini, avocado, kale, quinoa, green goddess dressing and woodfired salmon, the menu celebrates the close relationship between the pub and the surf.

Located just steps from the beach, the venue plays into its suburb's claim as the official birthplace of surfing in Australia. The sport was popularised in Freshwater back in 1915 by Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian who famously carved a surfboard from Aussie timber and hypnotised crowds at the beach.

Designed by architects Alexander & Co, the fit-out include's a mural by Sydney artist Ash Holmes and a new "sun-bleached" exterior. The refurb has also unveiled sections of the pub that have been covered for decades including a heritage staircase and arches. And patrons are encouraged to rock up straight from the ocean, with spots to leave surfboards while you wine and dine.

Live music will be a major focus here, too, with a full calendar of free events showcasing local northern beaches talent booked in throughout the summer. Down the track, the team will also open a cafe and boutique accommodation in the space.

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