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Our Story

Built in gold-rush WA 1882 on the corner of William & Wellington Streets, The Royal Hotel was the original heart and soul of Perth. Third generation publican John Parker (The Standard Northbridge) was thrilled to take on The Royal, spending 12 months researching her colourful past and incarnations to inform the new vision.  Parker wanted to pay homage to The Royal’s rich narrative but also feed Perth’s growing appetite for unique, world-class venues:

‘We may not be bringing back the horse and curse fines, the card-game scuffles, the sheep crashing through the saloon window, or the fireworks in the front bar (all true) but it’s the same mixed hub and a helluvalotta fun.’

‘In terms of fit-out, we wanted to retain The Royal’s history and charm wherever possible, but also blend her creatively with contemporary features. New additions are distinct for contrast, and we’ve opened previously unseen areas to the public. There are different personalities for each area so there’s variety and vibrancy – we want noisy, upbeat and fun.’

‘Offering-wise, I wanted to keep that great pub feeling but ‘up the ante’ on the offering. We wanted next-level food, curated drinks, great service and good tunes. And I hope we’ve got that.’

History


Since 1882

True to the ‘Great Australian Dream’, The Royal Hotel was designed and built by Irish patriot and former convict done good, Joseph Noonan (or Nunan).

With a great shortage of hotel accommodation during Perth’s 1882 gold-rush, right from the start the new two-storey ‘first class family hotel’ thrived.

In 1894, with James C. Foster as proprietor, The Royal Hotel undertook a major redevelopment, transforming into a ‘grand Victorian Second Empire’ style building. WA-born architect Henry Trigg lead the transformation, having designed other well-known Perth landmarks including the Subiaco Hotel, Trinity Church and Trigg Chambers. A newspaper described the new-look hotel:

“The ground floor contains a splendid saloon with a very handsome bar. A counter of elaborate design and the mirrored shelving, together with the enriched ceiling and cathedral glass in the front windows, produce a fine effect. A black-and-white marbled tiled vestibule gives access to a dining room of fair size, well lighted, and a stair-case leads to the first floor, which is made private by screen doors leading to the front entrance.”

Throughout its history, The Royal’s walls have witnessed the wonderful, the wacky and the downright woeful. In 1914, Frank Dixon set-off fire crackers in the Saloon, blowing away a man’s eyebrows and whiskers, and in 1894, William Parker served time for stealing a corkscrew and a pewter pot. There’s been Constables tripped, altercations with ex-Sheriffs, barmaid conspiracies, and yes, there have been deaths – murders, mishaps, and attempted poisonings by massage oil.

Of course, there have been far more good times and hilarity than bad. 1912 saw The Royal Hotel described as ‘one of the finest hotels in the state’. Indeed, it was the go-to meeting place and epicentre for Perth locals, and people ventured from all over Australia to stay in its rooms and drink in the famed Saloon. Even the Hotel’s Bottle Shop Manager, W. H. Jones, went the extra yard (literally), delivering by horse and cart to suburban doors.

There’s been some interesting owners too, with The Royal Hotel sold to the Swan Brewery Company Ltd in 1925, then again in the 60’s to the University of Western Australia. In 2018, The Royal Hotel was redeveloped as part of Raine Square, and mercifully, Charter Hall opted to maintain this beautiful and iconic building as a central piece to its development. And for that, all of Perth can be unbelievably grateful.

About the restoration

Reviving The Royal Hotel

John Parker led the interior design, and the team from Milieu Creative provided architectural assistance, to restore the innate charm of The Royal Hotel and blend her creatively with unique, contemporary features. New additions are distinct for contrast and we’ve opened previously unseen areas to the public.

Honouring The Royal’s history was always paramount, with the grand staircase, regal archways, timber floors, original façade and wide verandah, all lovingly restored.

The Saloon has retained her name from 1894, and the original grand staircase still winds majestically upstairs. The first level is a modern take on an old-world pub, with ornate chandeliers, Chesterfields and a Trilliards table blending sympathetically with modern accents, rich colours, a karaoke room, and artworks that often pay homage to The Royal’s bygone era.

The first level comprises a variety of spaces:

  • A large, roomy, wrap-around verandah with vistas over Yagan Square and Northbridge.
  • The Horseshoe Bar;
  • The Parlour Bar;
  • The Private Dining room;
  • Trilliards room; and
  • Karaoke room.