And you guessed it, Merivale are the proverbial white knights in this tale of last minute rescue.
When this beloved old pub was bought by developers and closed in 2015 the local community rallied in support of the 150 year old venue with the famously huge beer garden. It had been the site of raucous 2-Up tournaments, the home pub for many Sydney Swans supporters and the host of the most popular Super Bowl party in the city each year, and people wanted it to stay.
Luckily for fans of the beautiful curved bar and pressed tin ceilings, the 'Alex' will live to serve beers another day. Justin Hemmes is continuing his foray into the Sydney pub market that has seen him take over and reinvent the Newport, the Coogee Pavilion and the Paddington. Now he has bought the Alexandria Hotel too.
It's early days but the plans are to restore the public bar to its 1930s glory, and the future of the beer garden is up to you. They're asking for submissions from local creatives at ouralex.com.au to help determine the direction of the pub's new life, so if you have strong feelings about it now's your chance to voice them.
Of course Merivale doesn't trade in scruffy old boozers – that's just not their style – but South Sydney has a long and storied history and what works in a blue ribbon suburb in Sydney's east isn't necessarily going to fit in Alexandria. This is why they're listening to the people on this one, which definitely feels like the smart way to play it.