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Empowering Hospitality: Celebrating the Women Behind Collingwood's Iconic Fox Hotel

Empowering Hospitality: Celebrating the Women Behind Collingwood's Iconic Fox Hotel

By Joseph Steele. 

In a quaint corner of Collingwood, The Fox Hotel stands as a testament to the enduring charm and spirited camaraderie that a neighbourhood pub can foster. This International Women's Day, we delve into the story of three remarkable women who have helmed this historic venue for the past 17 years, embedding themselves in the local fabric with a welcoming philosophy and a pint of passion.

For Bridie Miles, Clodagh Harris and Tracy Walsh, The Fox Hotel is more than just a pub. It's a community hub where laughter fills the air and everyone - from the local artist to the after-work crowd - finds solace and celebration. The pub's storied walls, which have seen the ebb and flow of Melbourne's vibrant culture, now echo the voices of its three formidable proprietresses.

Taking over the venue in 2007, the three friends embarked on a journey that would cement them in the very fabric of Collingwood. With the holy trinity of passions: beer, wine and entertainment, Clodagh, Tracy and Bridie have taken this historic site (the exact date of establishment is up for debate, but 1887 is a common belief) and given it a new life.

These women are not just publicans; they are pioneers in a field traditionally dominated by men. With a blend of resilience, innovative spirit and a keen sense of community, they have steered The Fox Hotel into becoming a beacon of inclusivity and warmth. Their tenure has been marked by a commitment to creating a space that feels like home to all, a rare feat in today's fast-paced world.

Serving an impressive selection of craft beers and hearty meals, that extends beyond the classic pub fare, The Fox Hotel features ingenious dishes fusing native ingredients with the classics (think peppered kangaroo burgers or beer battered fish tacos with lemon myrtle). The culinary focus is equally comforting as it is distinct. Here you can find a Moreton Bay bug and prawn pie happily sitting alongside a free-range chicken parma. The keen focus on inclusivity extends to the menu, so those with dietary requirements, fear not!

The Fox Hotel has a broader mission: to be a neighbourhood pub in the truest sense. This means hosting events that bring people together, from trivia nights that tickle the intellect to live music that stirs the soul. Their approach goes beyond the conventional, fostering a sense of belonging and connection among patrons.

The significance of The Fox Hotel, under the stewardship of these women, extends beyond its physical locale. It's a cultural landmark that celebrates diversity, encourages dialogue and nurtures local talent. Their vision for the pub has always been clear: to be a place where everyone is welcome and anyone can find a moment of joy.

On this International Women's Day, The Fox Hotel stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when women lead with heart, vision and an unwavering commitment to their community. The triumvirate at its helm has not only preserved the legacy of a historic venue but also imbued it with a modern ethos of inclusivity and warmth.

As we raise our glasses to these remarkable women, we not only celebrate their success but also the broader narrative of female empowerment and leadership in the hospitality industry. The Fox Hotel, with its welcoming glow, remains a beacon of hope, a reminder of the strength found in unity and the beauty of a shared pint among friends.

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