Tucked away in the quiet suburb of Brompton just off the Port Adelaide railway line, you’ll find the 136-year-old State Heritage Listed Brompton Hotel. Established in 1880, the hotel was one of the original buildings in the area, second only to the church on the corner of First and West Streets. The pub was called The Brompton Hotel and the original settlers therefore named the suburb after the pub. Whilst the church is now a private residence boasting a bespoke swimming pool, the Brompton Hotel has retained its community charm for the ages.
The Brompton Hotel had a turbulent history of ownership during its initial years with the pub changing hands every few years. It was based in an industrial neighbourhood and served its community well, acting as the centrepiece of the area. According to the Charles Sturt Local Council, the Brompton Hotel was a venue for local activities, including concerts, court sessions and public meetings. By the first part of the 1900s, the hotel’s clientele appears to have somewhat mellowed. “The Brompton Hotel used to be chock-a-block with workmen, they had to employ four barmen, but you would never see any fights or that” (Miss Laura McInnes).
During the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and into the early 60s, the O’Leary Family managed and owned the hotel. Their ownership of nearly forty years is remarkable given the tough economic times coming through the Second World War and into the conservative 1950s. This was an era in which pubs were required to close at 5pm. Patrons had to be physically removed from the hotel in order for the publicans to stay legally compliant.
By the 1990s the hotel was still considered working class despite the emerging rejuvenation of the suburb. The scantily clad waitresses were a popular feature of the pub at that time and coincided with the introduction of poker machines (‘pokies’) in 1994.
The Brompton Hotel underwent a comprehensive restoration of the original pub in 2005 and then a renovation and new construction three years later. The original stone is still intact, as well as the original kitchen chimney and the staircase leading into publicans’ quarters upstairs. Great care has been taken to present the original furnishings, including the green painted trim around the roof from the 1950s. The pub seamlessly weaves its history through its modern finishing and is well positioned to welcome in the next generation of the Brompton community.