The GB Hotel in Richmond was a Melbourne institution, a venue that felt like a living organism that had evolved over the years into something much more than a pub. Then, in early 2014, with the building's owners hiking the lease, a great thing came to an end as Chris and Penny Hodges moved out, taking their staff and their customers with them.
Thankfully, they found a new home not far away: at the Cherry Tree Hotel in Cremorne, the little pocket of inner-city Melbourne that's nestled within Richmond. They set about making what had previously been a pretty crafty venue their own, bringing some of the curios and oddities that had decorated the GB with them – artwork, fish tank televisions – adding more taps pouring even more fine beer and starting again.
After finally tearing down the newspaper and "COMING SOON" signs from the windows, the new Cherry Treet quickly won a big following within its quirky corner of the city, offering up fine pub food alongside the ever changing lineup of beers, including Piss, the beer originally brewed for the GB. Today, you'll find 22 taps – even more than they had at the GB – plus a "Randaliser" attached to the bar through which they add whatever ingredients they fancy to one of the tap beers.
The beers and ciders you'll find pouring from the taps in the main bar and restaurant are almost always Aussie, with the occasional appearance from "the seventh state" across The Ditch. And while they have a few brewing friends to whom the staff stay loyal, there's plenty of rotation too; expect to find three or four new beers tapped each week.
Aside from that, you'll find the place jammed for trivia on Tuesdays – run by the Mrs Smith, who ran the GB trivia from 2000 onwards – plus DJs every Friday and Saturday night, a pool table and a little beer garden out front. As for the vibe, when we asked management to describe their ethos, it was simple: "Relaxed and merry." Which is just how a pub should be.
Given its location, it's not somewhere you're likely to know about unless you live or work nearby, but if you're into good beer, good people and pizzas so big it takes four people to eat them, then it's well worth locating Cremorne on your map and making yourself known.