One of Sydney's prime pieces of culinary real estate has found new life. Three years after being placed into liquidation, the legendary Manly Pavilion is making a comeback, reopening with a slick new fitout both inside and out — even though it's the middle of bloody winter.
Sitting on its well-known overwater site on the Manly Cove Esplanade, Manly Pavilion now boasts breezy open spaces, a slick new dining space (somewhat straightforwardly) called Bistro at Manly Pavilion, repurposed Chesterfield lounges and parquet flooring. With a brand new crew on board, the Pav has multiple spaces to lounge around in, from a casual openair balcony deck to a lounge bar area, a ballroom opening in November 2016 and the fancier aforementioned Bistro dining room.
Sydneysiders have been watching this one with interest over the last few months, after it was revealed to be on the market back in February 2015. The Roads and Maritime Services announced that receiver Grant Thorton had "identified a preferred replacement tenant for the remaining term of the 25-year lease."
Early frontrunners for the site Cafe Sydney apparently pulled out of the race before tenders were lodged. With his highly successful Coogee Pavilion a waterfront pav success, Merivale's Justin Hemmes himself had reportedly shown interest in the Manly Pavilion — before he quashed those rumours with the opening of The Newport this year.
In its heyday, Manly Pavilion was considered one of Sydney's finest restaurants, winning a Michelin Star as well as the 2011 Best Restaurant Award from the SMH Good Food Guide. Its demise was one of several in the city's high-end restaurant world, with closures attributed to changing tastes and tighter economic conditions. At the time it shut down, Manly Pavilion's owners were more than $590,000 in debt.
While winter might not be the most predictable time to open a waterfront pavilion, it could work in Manly Pavilion's favour.
By Tom Clift and Shannon Connellan. Image: Manly Pavilion.