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Ballarat gets a Pub with Two Names

Alice's journey down the rabbit hole is the inspiration behind a new hotel by artists David and Yuge Bromley in Ballarat.

A guest bathroom filled with artwork by David Bromley, Yosi Bergner and Matthew Johnson at the Pub with Two Names in Ballarat
A guest bathroom filled with artwork

Prolific creative duo David and Yuge Bromley bring their art and design flair to the Victorian city of Ballarat with the opening of the Pub with Two Names.

Set in the former Peter Lalor Hotel – aka the Royal Highlander, hence the new name – the Bromleys' hotel début features a 100-seat restaurant and bar, accommodation and an events space decorated in their exuberant style. Bromley nudes fight for space on hand-illustrated walls; bronze animals sit on antique cabinets.

The hotel's 17 rooms upstairs have been transformed into just five apartments, two of them occupied by the artists-in-residence. The remaining three will offer what is arguably Ballarat's most colourful lodgings, a riotous assembly of paintings, sculpture, textures and patterns curated with a (slightly mad) gallerist's eye.

A landing on the upper floors of the hotel.
A landing on the upper floors of the hotel.

"The brief to ourselves in designing and decorating the apartments was Alice's journey down the rabbit hole – with a few mod cons along the way," says Yuge Bromley.

Downstairs, behind the hotel's grand façade, are the equally eye-catching restaurant and bar run by Donatello Pietrantuono and Iain Gunn, late of Carboni's Italian Kitchen and the Novotel Forest Resort in Creswick.

Jeux de Dames V by Bernard Buffet, Unbreakable by David Bromley and a painting of the Russian School (artist unknown) in a dining room.
Jeux de Dames V by Bernard Buffet, Unbreakable by David Bromley and a painting of the Russian School (artist unknown) in a dining room.

As for the menu, expect Bannockburn chicken, Cape Grim beef and Sher wagyu given the Argentinian grill treatment and, of course, lashings of art on the side, including a wallpaper collage featuring famed artists. "We wanted to create an enveloping experience where locals and visitors alike can feel transported to a fanciful space within the heart of Ballarat," says Yuge.

The original stables, built circa 1887, have been transformed into an events space "styled in our Mad Hatter's way" with pieces from the Bromleys' extensive collection of antique and one-off furniture.

Pub with Two Names, 331 Mair St, Ballarat, Vic, thepwtn.com.au

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