Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published December 3rd 2014
When Are You In A Laneway But Not In A Laneway?
Happy staff, happy customers
Don't be deceived by the plain white exterior (no doubt heritage facade) of the Bridge hotel in Richmond. In true Sandhill group style the interior is classy, innovative and imaginative. This very old landmark has been transformed into a mega pub.
It's easy to get into the swing of things at the Bridge Hotel
Today smiling and dancing waitresses in grass skirts and a chef with a uniquely Caribbean hat revealing long dreadlocks greeted us. Laura, the venue manager, is smiling broadly and in the background Bob Marley sings 'I wanna love you every day and every night'. The smell of the barbecue wafts out the door, there are treasure chests scattered around and a live band is being set up.
Belting out the songs
The entrance of the hotel leads to another world. It's like walking a cobblestone lane in New Orleans. The recent renovation has created a lane way inside the hotel, which has private overlooking balconies.
A view of the laneway and balconies from an upstairs balcony
Within the hotel there are several unique areas, for example open dining, wraparound seats, tall bar tables and stools, comfy lounges with eclectic cushions, intimate private spaces, outdoor tables under umbrellas, retro style dining booths and open spaces. Various intriguing dividers and styling give the impression of private party spaces. Take time to appreciate the art and eclectic collection of bikes in the stairwell and photos upstairs.
Not your usual pub
The Bridge Hotel caters for all-comers, families with children, young people, those enjoying their retirement and everyone in between.
Today there are pop-up barbecues and food stalls featuring tasty Caribbean food. There was a bit of excitement when the barbecue caught on fire. It just goes to show how hot the charcoal grilled spicy Cajun chicken wings were. The waiter extinguished this pretty quickly to the loud cheers of patrons.
The Bridge Hotel is so hot it's on fire
I was thoroughly enjoying my miniature potato cakes with chunky guacamole and sour cream when I was told that these were actually sliced fried bananas. I would never have imagined that this combination would be so good. Other food on offer included Cuban sandwiches, beef jerky, mango and coconut cookies, and rum punch was available in coconut cups.
Fried banana chips for only $6
On a regular day, if there is such a thing at the Bridge Hotel, they serve some classics such as a 200 g Black Angus cheeseburger with salad relish, American mustard, pickles and chips for $21.
The southern fried chicken is a bit of a favourite with smashed avocado, brioche Buns and is also $21. The pie floater is served with creamy mash, mushy peas and gravy. This sounds perfect for a cold day ($24).
Other traditional pub meals such as fish and chips, chicken parmis and steak sandwiches are done in the Sandhill way – with style and flair.
On Friday nights Karma kegs happy hour give you a good reason to drink up. All the proceeds from the 5PM happy hour are donated to community fundraising initiatives, small projects, struggling families and local charities.
Looks like someone has been enjoying the rum punch
On the way out I spoke to one of the waitresses who said that the Bridge hotel was a fun place to work especially when they have special events such as this. She added that it gave them a chance to dress up.
The staff deserves 10 out of 10 for effort, effect and impact. The next special event will be held on New Year's Eve. It will be a bohemian circus and is a ticketed event for $120 per person. I can only imagine the spectacular food and entertainment planned for the night.
Can you believe this is in Richmond?
If you enjoy the Bridge Hotel in Richmond pop around the corner and have a look at the latest ambitious Sandhill renovation at the pea soup green Terminus Hotel in Abbotsford.