There’s a certain romanticism about The Fireside Inn in Goulburn.
Christening parties, weddings, engagements, special anniversaries and romantic dinner dates have all been celebrated here – if only the walls could talk.
Now the old Tudor tavern is set to go under the hammer on Saturday, 10 April, unless it is sold beforehand.
While the new owner is under no obligation to retain the 75-seat restaurant enriched with low-hanging beams, oak-panelled walls and charming English trinkets, agent Carol James says she’s determined to find a buyer who will preserve its charm and warmth.
“We in Goulburn would be very disappointed if that was lost,” she says. “People in town say a wine or cocktail bar would be lovely so long as it’s in keeping with the old English atmosphere.
“Tourists stop here because it’s an iconic building and because of its charm. It’s got a special feel.”
Located in the heart of Goulburn’s historic precinct, with views across Belmore Park and the heritage-listed courthouse, The Fireside Inn was originally built in 1934 as a tea room for weary travellers to escape the bitter winters.
The old lantern that hangs above the quaint courtyard belongs to the stagecoach era when its light was needed to change the horses that rested in the rear stables.
A picture of John Knowlman, the Goulburn merchant who based the inn’s design on popular English pubs, still hangs above the large, open fireplace this institution owes its name to.
Since then, the inn has only had two other owners who transformed the tea room into a restaurant serving English classics such as pork roast and sticky date pudding to diners who sat at the long tables and inside intimate alcove booths.
“There are a lot of good food places around, but not with this atmosphere, especially in winter,” says Carol. “You step out of your car and it’s freezing cold, then step in here and instantly feel the heat of the fire. It’s a lovely feeling and people remember that.”
Sadly, the restaurant closed and the tenants left at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Carol believes The Fireside Inn has many years left in it, particularly with construction of the new Goulburn Performing Arts Centre well underway.
“I think it can lead a new life, something that runs a little later to welcome people in after a performance at the arts centre for a cocktail or coffee,” she says.
The inn is ready to be reopened as a hospitality venue, with the bar, commercial kitchen, walk-in cold room, tables and chairs all included in the sale.
Even the famous plates, painted with idyllic English scenes, will still hang on the walls after the keys are exchanged.
The side room, which was a coffee room and nail boutique in another life, could be continued as a cafe, gift shop or even an ice-creamery, with cones easily served from the park-facing window, Carol suggests.
Upstairs, the two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats could become accommodation for wedding guests or restaurant staff.
“I can see people getting married at the courthouse, having their photos taken in the park and then coming to the inn for the reception,” says Carol.
She expects The Fireside Inn to sell for between $1 million and $2 million, with the buildings on either side selling for somewhere in the middle.
“This historic Goulburn landmark is just waiting for the right purchaser to make it their own,” says Carol. “We look forward to seeing the restaurant open and welcoming people through its doors once again, as it has done previously for many years.”
You can view this property at 23 Market Street in Goulburn online.
If you would like further information, or to book an inspection, contact Carol James from Carol James Real Estate on 0409 483 766.