The Federal Hotel in Fremantle first opened in 1887; for the past 20 years or so it has operated as Rosie O’Grady’s until new owners took over, closed it down for renovations and re-opened this year reverting to the original name.
We were invited along on Saturday to a function to celebrate the launch of a new upstairs bar, Herberts, named for the original owner, James Herbert – it later came into the ownership of Sir John Forrest, and his name adorns one of the first floor function rooms.
Walking into the hotel we were struck by the décor- gently muted colours, beautiful ceilings, arches, slate floors, flowing out to a pretty little outdoor courtyard and beer garden. Truly a wonderfully restored Federation building. It is bright, airy and open, very welcoming in ambience and style. Myriad greenery in pots provided a cooling, slightly exotic atmosphere.
With a trio playing in the downstairs bar, guests were plied with Laurent Perrier champagne and beer to kick off –
With others drinks following as the afternoon wore on, including an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Exmoor from Xanadu.
Freshly shucked oysters, a loaded centrepiece table of cheeses, cold cuts, bread, salad and more tempted us –
And for the rest of the afternoon the kitchen was busy turning out a range of finger food –
Kangaroo sliders, lamb croquettes, pork belly cubes served in spoons, crocodile chorizo, and my favourite brilliant snapper spring rolls.
Up a grand staircase the first floor hosts Herberts – at the front of the building it has a snug type bar, then on through doors to a very comfortable lounge area and out onto the veranda overlooking William Street.
Very impressive and certain to be one of the attractions of Freo as the warmer months come upon us. Towards the back of the hotel are a couple of function rooms – one of them the aforementioned John Forrest room – accommodation is to be found on the second floor up another set of stairs.
This is an excellent renovation and restoration of one of the grandest buildings in the port city – with a number of bars, eating areas inside and out, it will be a great drawcard. Downstairs, too, large flat screens offer the chance to watch a bit of sport while having a drink if that is your style.
The food from the kitchen was high quality, quite different from run of the mill pub fare, and very well cooked. A fine list of beers and wines add to the attraction.
We were suitably impressed and will be back soon for another visit. It is an illustrious “addition” to Fremantle.