A freelance writer with a passion for music, fitness and fashion.
Published July 23rd 2013
When I lived in the area, I visited Eastwood hotel fairly regularly. My housemates and I would pop in to the familiar local venue a few nights a week, though I was never really sure why. The drinks selection was fairly pitiful, the atmosphere was subdued at best, comatose at worst and the place was generally run down It didn't even have a "dodgy in an endearingly quirky way" vibe about it. it was, quite simply, a dive. Still, it was close to home and cheap enough to make up for many of its many shortcomings.
Once I moved away, I never felt compelled to revisit the place, not even for nostalgia's sake. As chance would have it, though, I ended up back there a few nights ago and observed a rather remarkable transformation. Eastwood hotel has undergone significant refurbishment and has emerged an altogether different venue.
As it turned out, I had chanced upon the grand reopening party of the hotel, so I imagine my experience wasn't typical of a regular night at the pub, unless the staff will always be handing out free food to every lucky guy who happens to wander in. Still, there have been some significant changes made which I think will help the Eastwood Hotel make the jump from convenient local venue to favourite weekend destination.
1) A complete exterior refurbishment has taken place. The faded, stuck in the seventies pink walls are gone, replaced by sleek, modern grey and white colours reminiscent of city venues.
2) The drinks selection has been expanded and now offers something for everyone. James Squire is on tap, which I never would have expected!
3) There are now much clearer divisions between hotel segments. It used to be a bit irritating, sitting in the bar watching people play pokies on one side and eat dinner on the other. Now a real statement of an automatic door separates the main bar from the "VIP lounge", and families are free to eat dinner in a completely separate area to the merry after work drinkers.
5) A very impressive beer garden has been introduced. It's the kind of area that would have me coming back with a group of mates, for sure.
Still needs work:
1) The "party's over, lights are on, time to go home" atmosphere was still there to an extent, even on what will probably be the busiest night this year. I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm holding the bar staff up. The wide-open spaces of the rooms have a lot to do with this, but I think the slightest dimming of the lights and cranking of the music would give the place a much livelier, more welcoming vibe.
2) The bathrooms are still frustratingly difficult to find! I know where they are from experience and it might just be my terrible sense of direction and over-reliance on signage, but I imagine new visitors would still find it hard to locate the amenities.
Overall, I had a much improved experience at the Eastwood Hotel. I would certainly make a point of heading back there.
Not sure when you went there but the refurbishment is far from completeto have lunch at the (Asian)restaurant and was told 'my menu' was on the back page, this is where burgers and chicken nuggets are offered. And they call me racist. Certainly wont be back there in a hurry,