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By Madeleine Gray on February 8, 2017 in News

Photo: The Iris Group

Photo: The Iris Group

The Clovelly Hotel is an iconic Eastern Beaches institution. Perched right next to the beach, it’s long been a place of rest and rejuvenation for hungry and thirsty locals. It’s a friendly, no-frills kind of place: you order and pay at the counter, and you might get a Resch’s with your chicken parma.

All of this may be about to change after the recent purchase of the Cloey by swanky hotel group, Solotel.

Solotel’s portfolio includes 26 diverse venues across Sydney and Brisbane – from Chiswick in Woollahra, to Darlo Bar in Darlinghurst, North Bondi Fish to The Sheaf in Double Bay. While Chiswick and North Bondi Fish are quite clearly gastronomic destinations, with a focus on fresh produce and fine dining, places like Darlo Bar retain their old-fashioned local pub vibe.

The question is, then, which of these directions will the Cloey be taken in?

“Solotel will take over the operation of the hotel from February 1, from which point we will evaluate the overall offering and how it resonates with our customers,” Justine Baker, COO of Solotel, told The Beast.

“Menu changes can be expected in the first month, aesthetic changes need time to plan so will be more medium term.”
When asked how Solotel plans to balance the grassroots, community ethos of the Cloey with a more ‘trendy’ menu, Ms. Baker was confident that the pub would retain its charm.

“We pride ourselves on having venues with their own identity and narrative that personifies the venue and the community, and that will be the same for the Cloey,” Ms. Baker said.

“We envisage the Cloey being a fun, relaxed, beachside pub that the community loves and thinks of as their own.”

Long-time readers of The Beast will know that Eastern Beaches locals can be quite territorial about their old haunts and family favourites – and this is something that Ms. Baker is already humbly accepting, even relishing.

“We have had many locals contact us already to let us know their view on which angle we should take,” she said. “All of them want a great, relaxed, quality-focused community pub, which is what we want to deliver.”

Another question that arises from the sale is the fate of the development application lodged by the current Clovelly Hotel owners, Iris Capital, late last year.

The application sought approval for the addition of 29 new hotel rooms in the building, and for the reconfiguration of the bar and restaurant areas, among other things. A few locals were displeased with this application, fearing an influx of vehicular traffic.

“At this stage we haven’t got any firm plans with this DA,” Ms. Baker said. “With the takeover effective as of February 1, we will look to make an assessment after we know the pub and its opportunities.”