AN ADVERTISING FEATURE OF THE COURIER
BALLARAT'S flourishing social scene will have another prominent watering hole later this week when an old pub meets a modern brewery on the Mair Street strip.
Located on the corner of Peel and Mair streets, Freight Bar & Restaurant will open to the public on Thursday.
Manager Daniel Rush said a recurring industrial theme was present throughout the premises, which features shipping containers, a look-in brewery and a railway yard at the rear.
"The whole design is based on the beauty of the building," Mr Rush said.
"The character has been inspired by the brewery, the industrial surrounds and the railway."
Freight owner and operator Chris Sargent is aiming to provide clients with high quality fresh food and drink.
The venue sports an all-Victorian wine list and 12 beers and ciders on tap.
It also provides a selection of O'Brien Beer, which is manufactured by Rebellion Brewery from within the same building.
"A lot of people have a soft spot for this pub, so we are keeping the drinking vibe upstairs with good quality craft beer and a dining environment for downstairs," Mr Sargent said.
"The remodelling of the pub will appeal to a variety of crowds."
Mr Sargent has taken concepts from the other Ballarat pub he owns Seymours on Lydiard and applied them to Freight.
The building has undergone an extensive redevelopment, with the addition of a large deck and courtyard.
"The balcony was a success at Seymours so we have carried it on at Freight," Mr Sargent said.
"People driving past would have seen the construction of the deck over time.
"Both the upstairs and downstairs bars have been remodelled."
"A lot of people have a soft spot for this pub, so we are keeping the drinking vibe upstairs and a dining environment for downstairs."
The Sargent family has owned bars and pubs in Ballarat for 25 years, giving Mr Sargent a first-hand view of the changes in the Ballarat social scene, from working-class pubs to trendy bars.
"I think it's really positive the number of bars and pubs that have been reinvigorated around Ballarat," Mr Sargent said.
"It gives people variety and gets more people out and about.
"We don't see other pubs and bars as competition, rather as adding to the scene."
Menu inspired by air, land and sea
Freight Bar & Restaurant’s menu will be reflective of the bar’s theme, inspired by freight transport.
“We have used the Freight brand as inspiration,”Mr Rush said.
“With the forms of freight being air, land and sea, we have made items with air being chicken, spatchcock etc, land being lamb and beef, and sea being seafood.
“The downstairs area will pose as a restaurant, offering an a la carte menu, while upstairs is for food-sharing meals.”
Freight will also cater for vegetarians, gluten-free and healthy choice diners.
“The menu has been made with a focus on share boards and dishes conducive to a social drinking environment,” Mr Rush said.
“Our mains I would describe as modern bistro style, with contemporary Australian elements.”
To add to the social eating vibe, Freight will further enhance the experience with live music.
“We are aiming for a food and drinking atmosphere so acoustic entertainment will be an element of that,” he said.