THERE was the basement blaze. There was the evacuation order halfway through dinner service.
Then there was the most heartbreaking news of all: the fire had ravaged the Gunyah Hotel’s beer lines, along with thousands of dollars worth of brand new furniture, just weeks before Anzac Day.
But – six long months later – the amber fluid is flowing once again at the iconic Belmont watering hole.
The pub, owned by former Canterbury Bulldogs footballer Jason Hetherington, has welcomed its first patrons back since the devastating April fire.
The blaze had torn through plastic furniture in the basement, causing highly acidic smoke to rise indoors.
According to Mr Hetherington, the pub had an acidity reading 10,000 higher than the safe level.
“At first we thought we were going to be shut for two or three weeks,” he said of the painstaking recovery. “It was a hard time. We had to put 34 staff off. But the community support has just been great.”
The pub has undergone a complete internal refurbishment. The cause of the blaze was undetermined.