Renowned restaurant connoisseur Jamie Fitzpatrick has put his mark on the former Fish Inn, rebranding as the Rockpool Pavilion after purchasing the venue in October last year.
The Managing Director of FGH Group – which oversees the operations of a number of hospitality and accommodation venues including Shaw & Co, Shorehouse and The Courtyard – says plans are underway for the redevelopment of the site as part of a bid to revitalise the entry to The Strand.
“Stage one of the ‘facelift’ was completed earlier in the year, and we are now looking to evolve the menu alongside other areas of the business,” says Jamie.
“There is more to come in the next six to twelve months, but we’re really excited about the long-term potential for the space and the role the venue could playin improving The Strand as a key tourism destination.”
Whilst a combination of Covid and labour shortages has pushed pause on some of the key projects, Jamie is hopeful the full refurbishment will be finished within a year.
As part of the revamp, he has also partnered with a new local artisanal gin distilling business, Tan Lines Distilling, to create a full tasting experience in the new bar area of the Rockpool Pavilion.
Set to launch at the end of this month, the space will enable locals and tourists to sample Tan Lines’ three main products: a contemporary Australian Gin, Australian Vodka and statement Pink Gin; all of which are set to hit other local bars and restaurants across the city before Christmas.
“Given we are trying to reactivate the building, and the site in general, we see the distillery as a great fit for the Rockpool Pavilion,” continues Jamie.
“It is important that we, as a region, showcase our local products in areas that attract both locals and tourists. We’re also excited about the product itself. The quality of Tan Lines’ product really adds to the space at the Rockpool Pavilion but is also a great standalone product too.”
With plans to extend the product line beyond gin and vodka, Tan Lines Distilling owner, Aaron Rieniets, says the Rockpool Pavilion will provide the perfect launching pad for his business.
“As Tan Lines continues to grow, we’d like to expand our offerings and add rum and whisky as well,” explains Aaron, who has spent majority of his hospitality career in the US before returning in 2019.
“Working with Jamie is an exciting opportunity to build the Tan Lines brand with his wealth of local business insights, and I am looking forward to moving into the Rockpool Pavilion and sharing our products with the community.”
Jamie, who is also the Board Director at Townsville Enterprise, hopes the refurbishment of the Rockpool Pavilion and the eventual redevelopment of the Shoredrive Motel across the road (which has been on hold due to Covid) will inspire further action in the revitalisation of The Strand; something he says is critical in driving tourism and addressing the regions skills shortage.
“Townsville is in a time where we have the right projects, opportunities and people that are genuine in delivering change,” adds Jamie.
“The projects we have on the horizon will see real game changing investment in the city, the need for human resources hence the population growth we need to grow our city.
“Post-Covid, people are now looking for that lifestyle component more than anything else when deciding where to live and work.
“The hospitality and events sector play a key role in creating that lifestyle attraction and so I hope to work with other stakeholders to continue evolving the waterfront and ensure the city remains competitive on the national stage.”
Image credits: Phil Copp Photos