After more than a century of service, hundreds of regular customers and thousands of memories, the historic Pakenham Hotel will be resurrected.
Recently called The Drake Tavern but better known as ‘Purvies’, the hot spot at 153 Main St, Pakenham, was shut in April by vendors as the business was no longer ‘viable’.
The local watering hole was destined to be leased and converted into medical services and childcare facilities.
The pub is said to have been established in November 1879, and originally operated as the Gembrook Hotel. By the early part of last century, it was renamed The Pakenham Hotel, or as the locals call it, ‘Purvies’.
“This old pub is an icon, a symbol of the suburb, and we’ve had some fond memories here, so I couldn’t just sit back and see it go,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
“A few of us got together to find a way to keep it going, and I managed to find a consortium of local buyers who, after some negotiations, agreed to take it over.”
The iconic site sold for a considerable, multi-million-dollar figure to a ‘real mix’ of about seven people, according to Mr O’Loughlin.
Each person had the vision of bringing back ‘old traditions and values’, so they banded together to purchase the red-brick building.
“They are currently getting the liquor licence transferred,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
“They will get in to do some minor renovations, and the pub will hopefully be up and running within two or three months.”
The news of the pub’s closing and future plans was devastating for the locals, according to Mr O’Loughlin.
While he was out at the front of the pub, a lady in her 80s walked across the road to speak with him.
“She asked me if I was involved in keeping the pub alive, as she burst into tears,” he said.
“This place is an institution and it’s almost like a rite of passage that you’ve been here.”