Newport's Junction Hotel
- in its new guise as the Junction Beer Hall - has been open for twelve months. On our last trading day before
christmas, the Urban Salvage staff joined me for lunch at the Junction to check out the range of timbers we had supplied for the fit out.
In the distant past Hall Street was never the sort of neighbourhood that took you from your happy home to drink beer - unless home wasn't all that happy. The pubs at both the Spotswood and the Newport end of Hall Street were inhabited by the grim, ashen-faced men in the John Bracks painting for whom public bars, beer and cigarettes were part of life's daily ritual. It's a strange process - this suburban gentrification. No more so than when it reaches the darkest, most dilapidated corners of the old industrial west. Change seems hardly possible beforehand - but afterwards it appears natural and quite effortless. Put that down to the life-giving qualities of recycled native hardwoods.
The Junction Hotel - built in the 1920s
- is regularly described as Art Moderne - but like the old public bar that once lived within, it lacks the optimism and
light-heartedness of other buildings of the style. Strong vertical
break-fronted pillars define the facade instead of gentler, more expansive horizontal planes. There is a whiff of Empire in the styling
- muscular and imposing - eschewing flowing waterfall motifs or curved walls. The new owners did the only thing they could. Paint it white, make the front entry friendly and gut the interiors to form big spaces.
Workers no longer drink
watered-down Carlton Draught or Abbotsford Invalid Stout here in a gloomy public bar. Warm timber and chilled craft beers reflect the strong shift in the interests of the population living in the area nowadays. Owners Jackie Mahony and Stuart Metcalfe used Urban Salvage
Recycled Hardwood Sawtooth Lining Boards in the main Beer Hall on counter fronts, feature walls and around the base of the
wood-fired pizza oven in the old Bott-lo. Out back and across the courtyard, the bar is polished
Spotted Gum, while
custom-made Recycled Messmate tables and benches stand ready for large functions and gatherings.
On tap at the main bar there are at least eight beers - and none of them are CUB. There is very palatable Red Duck amber ale that goes well with a Napolitana pizza served on a sanded and oiled platter of Blackbutt. The Four Pines Ale is a treat with the Pulled Pork Po'Boy sandwich waiting in front of me with BBQ sauce and served on yet another wedge of hardwood. No - I kid you not. Timber extends to the tableware. Were these fashioned from some offcuts left from the refurbishment? It has you wondering how they serve the soup.
Up the Spotswood end of Hall Street there has been another pub renaissance. The much older Spottiswoode Hotel has retained its Victorian
facade and the original spelling on the parapet
- but little else of its past. The Spottiswoode always looks somewhat marooned on the industrial side of the tracks
- isolated from cafes, shops and residential Spotswood. Like the Junction, it had a
working-class clientele in the between-war years when Spotswood and Newport were the industrial heart of the west. Throughout the nineties and into the millennium it was shuttered without and dark within
- a featureless exterior giving little away - especially not a warm welcome. Blokes entered the gloom in weekly ritual to watch girls caper around a pole and disrobe bit by bit on a raised stage.
The strippers have gone. The shutters came down months ago and the pub is now an
open-plan bar and dining room where locals bring kids along for
good-value Sunday lunches and Friday night teas. Polished concrete floors extend throughout and tall benches of
Fir and Messmate provide no-fuss pub furniture. James Squires and Coopers beers have elbowed out the traditional jejune brews that were virtual state brands in the 1970s. Back then we also had petrol strikes at Easter and beer strikes at Christmas. In the intervening years, they have been superseded by the more sociable and streamlined system of
rostered-days-off tacked onto a procession of long weekends - the leisure hours spent with comrades at the Spottiswoode pub where a ten dollar roast dinner can still be had
- or 'grabbed' as the modern idiom would assert - in 2013.
Batch of board with intensely interesting feature of the natural variety in a tight-grained timber.
boards - but good for any furniture application, really.
We don't get - from salvage - solid boards exceeding 250mm in width very often, so these would make great stair treads or shelving.
Floor joists from a
Leveson Street, North Melbourne warehouse.
- as seen in the Junction Beer Hall.
Plenty more in
stock for your project.
of fine-grained old timber with an interesting scatter of black
nailholes as highlights.
Superb hardwood for
Pack price is only $3.50/m in random length packs.
durable lengths are ideal for outdoor structures.
You will never buy a custom-made benchtop at this price.
If you admire an
arctic blonde look or a deep-stained wenge tone, then this is the bench
or desktop for you.