There’s been a pub in the general vicinity since the latter half of the 1800s. Originally based onsite at Bower Park, a devastating fire caused the establishment to be rebuilt on the corner of Bower Ave and New Brighton Road, where it proudly remains to this day despite the best efforts of Mother Nature.
The Bower has enjoyed a vibrant history. Early versions of the pub survived more fires and attempts by the police to reduce the number of drinking establishments in the area, while ‘rough and ready’ clientele often made it a boisterous place to visit.
In the late 1980s our family bought the business, running it successfully for two decades before selling it to Australian investors in 2008. Two years later the Aussies had had enough, and we were presented with the opportunity to buy the business back, which we duly did, taking possession just a matter of months before the first earthquake hit.
It’s been a wild ride ever since, full of complications and uncertainty. The government’s ‘red-zoning’ of the area, coupled with difficulties securing insurance, made rebuilding the tavern challenging to say the least, but perseverance and the support of the locals has seen us prevail.
In the end the earthquakes provided us with a unique opportunity – the chance to completely reinvent our business. While we’re proud of the Bower’s past we’re also mindful that times have changed - dark, smoky ‘booze barns’ where patrons sit glued to the TAB channel are a thing of the past.
Instead we’ve created a space that caters to everyone; with a café and restaurant serving quality fare throughout the day and sheltered areas for families to relax and unwind. But there’s still plenty of room to watch the footy, enjoy live music and play on the pokies, in an environment where there’s always a story being told and a laugh being had.