Stunning renovation for Newcastle's original small bar

The first of Newcastle's small bars is set to reopen its doors after a stunning renovation.

Believed to be the city’s original small bar it has been known by many names over the years, including Poets Page, Mary Magpie, JC’s Karaoke and Charkers Wine Bar.

But it will probably be remembered most as the Gunfighters Rest and for serving drinks with bubbling dry ice.

Now, after a mammoth eight-month renovation, it is set to be reopened as 529 The Terrace Bar this Friday.

Behind the renovation has been The Block winner Brad Cranfield, who has again joined forces with cousin Michael Deer.

 NEW LOOK: From left, owners of 529 The Terrace, Michael Deer, Brad Cranfield and Cleo Meredith have renovated the venue which reopens on Friday.  Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

NEW LOOK: From left, owners of 529 The Terrace, Michael Deer, Brad Cranfield and Cleo Meredith have renovated the venue which reopens on Friday. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

Cranfield and wife Lara won reality renovation show The Block in 2012 then teamed up with Deer in 2014 to breathe new life into the Maryville Tavern.

The cousins have grown up around pubs and are excited by the prospects of the city’s only small bar with a rooftop terrace.

“The major appeal is it has a rooftop terrace, that was probably one of the main drawcards because it’s the only one in Newcastle like it,” Cranfield said. “Everyone you talk to has been here at one time or another and knows the Gunfighters Rest and has a bit of a story about it.”

The renovation of the iconic bar started as a “cosmetic” makeover but “ended up bigger than Ben Hur”.

“We bought it in December and we traded as is up until New Year’s Eve and then we shut it down and we were going to do just give it a bit of a tidy up,” Cranfield said.

“But being an old building, everywhere we turned we found out there was more and more dramas with the building, so a renovation we thought was going to take a few months has turned into seven or eight.”

Cranfield said they had blended traditional aspects of the building with modern touches.

The establishment has a gun barrel layout and features a downstairs bar as well as an upstairs cocktail bar opening to the terrace.

“When we looked into it, it has the look of a Melbourne bar or bars in New York; that long, skinny sort of bar and that was a bit of an appeal too,” Cranfield said.

The bar on Hunter Street, Newcastle West, will trade Wednesday to Sunday, 3pm to midnight. 

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