The famous Hawthorn Hotel, known to locals as “The Hawka”, has finally reopened its doors after a painful nine-month hiatus.
Students were devastated last year when the previous owners took to Facebook to announce the pub’s closure because of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We have made the difficult decision to bid farewell to the Hawthorn Hotel as we hand the venue back to the landlord this month,” they said.
Australia Venue Co, owners of more than 160 venues across Australia, has teamed up with Swinburne University to bring the iconic local pub back to life.
Venue Manager Sam Heathcote said the pub and the university had always been on good terms.
“Historically we’ve always had a really good relationship with the higher up at Swinburne, but that kind of flows down to the staff and the students,” he said.
Along with new owners, the pub is now sporting a brand-new industrial style interior, with exposed brick and ceilings and a modernised beer garden.
Mr Heathcote said the plan was to keep The Hawthorn’s memorable elements while still bringing a modern touch.
“The general feel for it was to keep old aspects of how the pub used to feel then, just revamp and remodel it for now.”
“It’s been due a refurb for quite a while,” he said.
Swinburne University is currently renovating the top floor, which will be used as a function space, while Australia Venue Co operates the ground floor.
The menu has also had a make-over with the very welcome addition of an extensive $15 cocktail list.
Mr Heathcote said they have catered to all types of patrons with a flexible pub-style menu with something for everyone.
“This is a pub at the end of the day, so It’s a very pub kind of menu, sausage and mash, fish and chips and all that stuff.”
Although the price of some menu items may not appeal to students, those on a tighter budget can grab a $15 lunch special, Monday to Friday, which includes a beer, wine or soft drink.
Students can also rest easy knowing that, once restrictions fully ease, Tightarse Tuesdays will return in full swing with drink specials, live music and of course, a dancefloor.
“People will know this is where to go on a Tuesday, or for trivia, or if you want to see a band.”
The Hawthorn Hotel has also introduced its own app, offering promotional discounts and member benefits, and is available for download from any app store.