This Merewether pub is sporting a new look
If you’ve driven along Glebe Road recently, you may have corked your neck spotting a fresh façade coming to life, if you’ve had a closer look, you’ll have recognised it as the old Hairy Melon, or as we’ll be referring to from now on, The Mary Ellen Hotel.
Having changed hands three years ago, the new owners had big plans to inject some much-needed personality into the old-time favourite, and come the 29th December 2021 we were all finally able to enjoy the masterpiece which is the refreshed, rejuvenated, and rejigged Mary Ellen Hotel.
We caught up with licensee Pete, and chef Stuart to chat about the venue’s comeback into the local hospitality scene.
“Pete and I have worked in the industry for years in Australia and overseas. My background is as a chef, and Pete has always worked on the bar side of things. We have always wanted to collaborate on bringing our food and pub experience together.
“We met with the owner, James, and we knew instantly it was the right fit. He shared and supported our vision to make the Mary Ellen a destination that can create a community place for people to get together for a drink and some good modern food in an inviting, relaxed, and modern environment,” Stuart said.
“The Mary Ellen Hotel is still a suburban pub. We want it to be a community hub where people can have a good time,” Pete said.
Whilst the outside still sports a bit of the old, it’s once you take a step inside that you’re transported to some sleek inner-city pub in Melbourne, which is actually in fact, on the outskirts of Merewether.
Featuring three distinct seating areas, Front Bar, Terrace Bar, and the Brasserie, all of which flow beautifully from one to the other throughout the entirety of the venue. The Front Bar is still the pub local’s favourite spot to hang out, now with an exposed ceiling featuring original pressed metal and all your usual pub facilities.
Walking through to the Terrace Bar is where things really start to get interesting. The space opens up to a natural and dappled light haven featuring different shades of green throughout alongside handsome timber accents.
Flowing through to the Brasserie you’re welcomed into the warm and inviting dining space. Perfect for a more formal gathering, but with all the same vibes as the rest of the venue.
“We have a lot of space and fresh air which people are looking for at the moment. It’s got that indoor, outdoor feel and you feel a breeze the minute you step inside.”
Every little nook and cranny has been considered throughout the entire design of the new space. From the tiled tabletops, lighting, booth seats, centre fireplace, to even the design of the VIP room.
“Everyone is just super excited to be a part of The Mary Ellen. It’s a great time to be here and James, the venue owner, hasn’t skimped on anything in the renovations of this venue,” Stuart said.
Whilst the interiors are jaw-dropping themselves, just you wait until you peruse the foodie offering. With Stuart at the helm, and one of Newcastle’s most talented kitchen teams behind him, the Mary Ellen’s brasserie is one to keep you always coming back for more.
“We have something for everyone on our menu. We’ve got a pizza oven out the back and that’s been cranking out some great pizzas and our pasta is all made fresh. All of our chefs in the kitchen are either head chefs or ex-head chefs. We’ve got a really great team and there are no egos out there.”
The menu, of course, features your usual weekly lunch specials and weekly dinner food specials including dishes like the $15 Schnitzels on Mondays, $25 Steak night on Tuesdays, and so on, it’s when you start looking at the usual menu that your mouth really starts to water.
The share menu features a range of dishes to suit all needs, with our favourite being the Charcuterie plate featuring olives, hummus, pickled vegetables, wafers, cured salami, shaved ham, and mature cheddar.
Further into the menu, you can browse from a selection of pizzas, pasta, dishes from the grill, pub favourites, burgers, and chef signature dishes.
The venue is still waiting on a few extra little bits and bobs to finalise the space, such as the indoor kid’s area right next to the brasserie, as well as some fresh greenery to truly bring the space to life. But overall, The Mary Ellen Hotel is well worth the visit of any Novocastrian. So, what are you waiting for? Drop by and give this old beauty with a fresh face a taste test.