FOR SALE: Local publican wanted to run iconic Ipswich hotel
ONE of Ipswich's most iconic pubs is for sale. The Hotel Metropole in the top of town boasts more than 150 years of history, but for the last six months, it has been deserted.
The heritage-listed hotel on the corner of Waghorn and Brisbane Sts opened in 1906, on the site of the old Harp and Erin Hotel and it has been used as a pub, nightclub or hotel since.
The pub was more recently called Silver Fern, later Club Metro and Johnny Ringo's took over late last year. The building has been deserted since May.
Now the owners, who paid $1.05m for the pub in 2014, are ready to pass it onto some new owners who they hope will be able to keep the historical watering hold open for generations to come.
Ray White Ipswich principal Warren Ramsey said at least $1m had been spent restoring the building to its former glory.
"With the architecture and the solid cavity brick, it's as good as the day it was put there," he said.
"It's certainly one of the oldest pubs in Ipswich. It holds a lot of Ipswich heritage. It's very original and there are hardly any structural changes at all.
"In the price range we are expecting, I would suggest it would represent the best value this town has seen for a long time with what is has to offer."
The hotel originally welcomed 'man and his beast', or people and their horses in the stables, and was damaged in fires in 1925, 1932 and 1940.
Mr Ramsey said the building was suited to someone who wanted to re-invent the old bar or turn it into a function centre but there was also scope for nightclub operators to snap the site up.
"Now it's obvious Johnny Ringo's are not going to crank it up, it is surplus to the current owner's requirements and they want to move on," he said.
"It would be great to think it would be an owner operator type publican who came along and ran it, because of the extensive works that have been done in recent times, in 2005, and the money that has been spent the condition it is in.
"Somebody is going to do really well out of owning this pub, especially if it's a local that's going to be hands on and bring it back to what I recall.
"The owners would be really happy to see the hotel fire up in its former glory and pass it onto somebody that appreciates the local value that this hotel holds."
Prominent Ipswich architect George Brockwell Gill designed the Metro with public and private bars, a dining room, parlour, coffee room, billiard shop, kitchen and a bedroom and offices.
Gill oversaw the design of many grand residences and public houses in Ipswich, including the Ipswich Technical College and Walter Burley Griffith Incinerator.
Upstairs there were 13 bedrooms, a drawing room, sitting room and three bathrooms.
A hot water service and gas lights pushed the construction bill up to 3000 pounds.