The Rydal Pub (Hotel Alexander) located just 15 mins from Lithgow will soon be entering a new and exciting era with its recent sale to Johnston Bros Hospitality Group.
This latest purchase is the third hotel in central west NSW in less than a year, to be bought by Johnston Bros Hospitality Group.
The Johnston family have been farming in the area for almost 10 years, but made their first hotel acquisition in October last year when they bought their local watering hole, the historic Tarana Hotel.
The O'Connell Hotel, was also bought by Johnston Bros Hospitality Group in an off market transaction in March this year and is nearing the final stages of work required to re-open the pub which had been shut for over 18 months under it's previous ownership.
Byram Johnston, owner of the group said he “had been encouraged by local sentiment around the Rydal Pub and after speaking with many of the locals it became increasingly clear that purchasing the Hotel was a unique opportunity to scale the groups resources and breathe new life into the Rydal pub."
“Our philosophy is to buy local and hire local. We stock local wines, beers, spirits and produce as well as hiring local staff."
Nathan Johnston, the group's operations and communications manager said “There is an opportunity with the Alexander to open the Café (connected to the pub) six or even seven days a week as well as increasing the opening hours of the pub beyond what they currently are. The locals want to see their pub open more regularly again and offer up the staple counter meals you've come to expect at a country pub."
Nathan said that "Due to it's locality to the Blue Mountains, there may however be an exciting opportunity to offer The Alexander as a destination pub, boosting tourism in the area by serving up cuisine people want to travel for, whilst still keeping the pub meals the locals expect. As with all our pubs, we have a strong focus on community engagement, respecting the needs of the locals, maintaining the heritage of the pubs and giving back to the community. It's early days, but making the Alexander a destination pub would only be done if it didn't impact the integrity of such an iconic local country pub. Being mindful of the importance of country hospitality is what sets our business apart from city based hospitality business who don't necessarily understand what makes a country pub work. Word travels fast in the country communities, so if you're not respecting the locals and what they want, then you're not off to a good start.""
Johnston Bros Hospitality Group's latest acquisition will allow the sharing of staff, management and resources between their venues.
"Hiring local staff is an important element of our business and moving forward we intend to offer both employment and training opportunities to the local community across all our venues".
Situated on the original route between Sydney and Bathurst, the Hotel Alexander was an important fixture in the once bustling village of Rydal. When changes were made in the late 1920's to the Great Western Highway, the town was no longer a through-fare and Rydal lost a lot of the passing trade, reducing the town from over 6 licensed Inns down to just the Hotel Alexander, hence the Alexander was dubbed the Rydal Pub.
Maintaining the heritage, the traditions and the authenticity of a country pub is important to Johnston Bros Hospitality Group and with three historic country pubs now in their portfolio, the family understands the importance a country pub plays in the community and the intention with the Rydal Pub will be to continue providing the unique country hospitality with a renewed perspective that will be beneficial to locals and the wider community.
The landmark O'Connell Hotel near Bathurst has just entered a new era with the sale this week of the historic hotel to JB Hospitality Group.
This is the second hotel in central west NSW in less than a year, to be bought by JB Hospitality Group owners, Byram and Deborah Johnston.
The Johnstons first acquisition in the area was the equally historic Tarana Hotel in the picturesque Tarana Valley which was transitioned to the group in October last year.
The O'Connell Hotel, which was built in 1865, was bought in an off market transaction from interests associated with a local family. Johnston said he was inspired by local sentiment to acquire the hotel and begin to revitalise the iconic offering in the same way he has operated the Tarana Hotel.
"Our focus has always been on the local community and that will continue with the acquisition of the O'Connell Hotel, Johnston said. "Our philosophy is to buy local and hire local. We stock local wines, beers, spirits and produce and hire local staff."
Johnston Bros Hospitality Group's latest acquisition will allow the sharing of staff, management and resources between the two venues.
"Hiring local staff is an important element of our business and moving forward we intend to offer both employment and training opportunities to the local community across both venues," Johnston said.
The O'Connell Hotel had been closed for several months while a DA for major renovations was in train, however the owners decided against proceeding and decided it was time to move on. Negotiations between the parties reached an agreement to acquire both the real estate and the operations of the hotel.
"We are excited to be expanding our hospitality business to include the historically significant O'Connell Hotel and we look forward to bringing this much loved local pub back to life," Johnston said.
"We have been farming in the area for almost ten years and both the O'Connell and the Tarana hotels have been our local watering holes during that time. We know them both well and love the unique character each venue offers to patrons."
Situated on the original route between Sydney and Bathurst, the O'Connell Hotel started life in 1865 as an unlicensed traveller's inn. Sitting prominently on seven acres of land on the banks of the pristine Fish River, the hotel was a landmark in the area and favourite destination for city escapees.
Fast forward to today and the hotel is still a landmark on the main road between Bathurst and Oberon and today as in the past, the pretty village of O'Connell is attracting families who come for the lifestyle that amenities offered in the area. The reputation of the O'Connell Public School is a big drawcard as is O'Connell's close proximity to Bathurst with its many employment opportunities, good schools and tertiary education including CSU. "The area has so much going for it," Deborah said. It's just 15 minutes from Bathurst and 2/12 hours from Sydney. I have met families who have moved into a house on 25 acres on the Fish River with room to have a horse for the kids and some chickens or a sheep. Where can you do that in Sydney? It's all about lifestyle."
The O'Connell pub has, historically, been the epicentre of social interaction in the community and the Johnstons are committed to recreating that atmosphere once again.
Maintaining the heritage, the traditions and the authenticity of a country pub is important to JB Hospitality Group and with two historic country pubs in the Fish River Valley now in their portfolio, the family understands what is needed to return the O'Connell hotel to a fully operational premises as soon as possible.
"The hotel has been closed for some months and will require quite a lot of work and cooperation to get it back up and running, however we have a great team behind us who are committed to our vision", Byram said.
Johnston Bros Hospitality Group's acquisition of the O'Connell Hotel will allow the sharing of staff, management and resources between the two venues. Hiring and training of local staff is extremely important to Johnston and the acquisition of the O'Connell Hotel will allow the business to offer even more employment and training opportunities to the local community.