Co-owner of The Builders Arms in Fitzroy and The Victoria Hotel, Footscray, Anthony Hammond grew up in pubs, they’re in his blood.
So, we thought we’d check in with him to see how he feels about the future of pub culture…
1. Anthony, how does a pub fair in times like this? Is takeaway a viable option?
There is an essay by George Orwell called Moon Under Water, it describes his favourite pub. It’s all about the people and community of the pub. So if you can’t have people in pubs it sucks balls. Takeaway is always an option but the reason people come to the pub is to connect, catch up with mates, shoot the shit, meet your workmates and ball out the boss. It’s an egalitarian space, so social or physical distancing doesn’t work for us.
2. How do you see hospitality on the other side of this, particularly in the world of pubs? Will they change the way they operate or will we need pubs more than ever?
I grew up in pubs through the 70’s, 80’s 90’s… My parents were publicans so I’ve seen the evolution all the way through from SP bookies in the corner to the TAB and Pokies.
Pubs will always be a part of the fabric of the local community in Australia.
There is a really nice feeling when you walk into a pub and the Governor or staff know your name, what you drink, what team you follow, who won the last race.
The buildings also inform you of what to expect. I love walking into an old pub and you hit the bar with cold beer taps and you don’t need shit explained to you.
3. What are your plans over the next few months?
There’s a group of mates that I’m in touch with. We all own pubs and we’re working on a Pub Collective where we’re about supporting each other, sharing information and working more as a community than competitively.
We are planning to do takeaway now, we need to stay connected but when we come out of this, I reckon pubs will come back stronger than ever.
People will walk in and think, “I’ve missed the shit out of this!”
Watching the footy, the cricket, just relaxing and having a beer.
We won’t lose pubs.
Interview: April 19