The old Regent's new look

THE old Regent Hotel opened as the new and improved Jacksons & Co last Friday.

The historic building now boasts three levels, with a cafe and restaurant downstairs, a function room on the second floor and a terrace lounge with views across Ballarat on the top floor.

Manager David Leslie said directors Steve Anderson and Brian Taylor were focusing on providing a relaxed, casual atmosphere with top food at great prices.

The building, at the corner of Mair Street and Lydiard Street North, has been stripped back to its natural red bricks and exposed beams, with accents of green and round lighting a feature across all levels.

The cafe and restaurant features lunches ranging from burgers and salads to pizzas while the dinner menu provides a wide range of seasonal delights.

A tiled bar area is also perfect for after work drinks and nibbles.

Upstairs, the function room can be used as one large room or split into a range of combinations. It will also eventually feature a 48-metre wraparound heritage verandah.

“We plan to do weddings and corporate functions,” Mr Leslie said.

“We can seat either 150 in the function room or 170 with the verandah.”

The function room was previously the hotel’s offices and bedrooms, with three layers of plaster removed to expose the original bricks and massive beams.

On the third floor, the partially open air terrace lounge is perfect for casual gatherings, focusing on share plates, pizzas and even share cocktails.

The drinks menu includes a potted history of each drink, as well as what it contains.

“We’ve got a classic theme up here. We didn’t want anything too over the top.”

Mr Leslie said Jacksons & Co was the hotel’s first name when it was built by John Jackson in 1861.

The site was previously a tent post office, while the hotel has been known as The Royal George, The Federal and The Railway Hotel over time.

Mr Leslie said the year-long revamp had attracted a lot of interest and people were already pouring in to see the result.

“We’ve had people sticking their heads in to see what was happening.”

The cafe and restaurant is open from 7.30am until 11pm seven days a week while the terrace lounge is open from noon until late every day.

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