In my younger days, I have on the odd occasion fallen asleep in a bar – a few beers and a warm atmosphere can have that effect!
My most recent such experience was much less random when a visit to Rushworth in Regional Victoria included an overnight stay.
My travelling companion booked the accommodation, so I did not what to expect. On arrival, it transpired that we were to stay in what used to be the Imperial Hotel and that my bedroom was one of the original bar areas.
Along with the Criterion Hotel and at least half a dozen more, the Imperial Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in the area. The Imperial was built in 1858, the height of the gold rush in Victoria. It was not designed along the same lines as many regional hotels – two storeys with an overhanging first floor balcony – it was on a much more domestic scale and clearly used for the sole purpose of serving drinks, with private accommodation attached. It appears that it ceased being a hotel in the early 1900s when it became a private residence.
There is not much historical information about the property, except the dates noted above and the fact that it was partially rebuilt following a fire in 1881.
Now used as a bed and breakfast, the property has recently been restored. Many of the original features, such as the hatch to the lady’s bar, have been retained and additional pub related artifacts included.
Being too good an opportunity to miss, and with the owner’s permission, I photographed the interior and exterior, including the very peaceful backyard. The resulting images can be viewed at this gallery, but here is a small selection:
The front bar
The Lady’s bar