WORKS IN PROGRESS: Gol Gol Hotel owner, Peter Pretscherer, PIC 1, is busy remodelling his front bar, while Sandbar owner, Malcolm Kalms, PIC 2, is getting stuck into his venue to make it the city’s best sports bar. PIC 3: Work is under way in the Mildura RSL car park, work that will transform the area into something like this artist’s impression of the finished job.

By PAUL MENSCH

WHILE current restrictions due to COVID-19 have closed our pubs and clubs for the time being, many of these venues have taken the opportunity to renovate and improve their premises while patrons are kept away.

Taking on renovations normally causes major disruptions to trading, and so given they have been forced to shut their doors, some local businesses in the hospitality sector have used the lockdown opportunity to upgrade.

The Gol Gol Hotel has stood on the banks of the Murray River since 1877, and over the years has grown from a small local watering hole into the award-winning venue it is today.

While extensions, and upgrades have happened in past years, Gol Gol Hotel owner, Peter Pretscherer, said that the front bar of the hotel was well overdue for a facelift.

“The actual bar and bar top have been in place since the 1940s and age had caught up with it,” he said.

“While it had served the pub well for many years, it was not historically significant or ornate in any way.

“We are also increasing the size our bottleshop, and in doing so, we have changed the shape of the front bar, which will make it more functional for both patrons and staff.”

Mr Pretscherer said that while there is never a good time to close down a large area of pub for renovations, the current closure due to the coronavirus made it an ideal time to get it done.

“We had wanted to do upgrades for some time now, and I’m looking forward to re-opening with a rejuvenated hotel in the near future,” he said.

Mildura’s RSL is also undertaking some improvement works during the closures, actioning plans it has had in place for a long time to create shade throughout its car park using solar panels.

While the installation of these panels was going to take place around this time, it was planned to be done in stages, so as to cause minimal disruption to the club’s parking.

“With the club completely shut down at the moment, it has allowed our contractors to tackle the project in one go,” RSL Mildura general manager, Kim Archibald, said.

“The work is due to be completed in the next few weeks, and so there will be no disruptions to our members and guests when we finally re-open our doors.”

The Sandbar Hotel has also jumped at the opportunity to do major capital works to its front bar facilities, doing a complete overhaul to create a state-of-the-art sports bar.

Owner, Malcolm Kalms, said the hotel was remodelling the bar area, which will create more room and bring the building back to its former glory.

“When sports start back in the coming months, there is going to high level sports televised every night,” he said. The AFL, NRL World soccer and Rugby Union will all be played five to six nights a week and we are going to have the best facilities in Mildura for fans to watch.

“While doing this, we are also stripping the layers back to show the interior off as it was when it was built many years ago.”

Another popular local pub, the Irymple Hotel has also taken the opportunity to make changes to their establishment. The pub has fully invested in major works to the bar area within the venue.

One thing is for sure, when restrictions to pubs and clubs are finally lifted, the residents of Sunraysia will be in for a swag of new-look pubs and clubs to enjoy.