The old-fashioned boozer may be on the decline, but many Australian pubs aren’t going down without a fight. Whether it’s a multi-function hospitality site that caters to all moods and demographics, a classic bistro or fine dining experience designed especially for locals, an eco-friendly drop or even just added peace of mind, venues are finding more ways to deliver value to their patrons than ever before.
Here are just some of the venues that are shaking up the hospitality industry’s world of pubs.
Ambervale Hotel, Campbelltown, NSW
Featuring its own micro-brewery (Ambervale Brewing Co.), a garden-style atrium, a kids’ play area, a modern bistro and grill, a sports bar, a VIP lounge and a daytime-focused café, each with its own particular design and aesthetic, it’s safe to say the hospitality industry mecca that is Ambervale caters for just about every facet of the eclectic community in Sydney’s southwest.
“With multiple bar personalities within one space, this is the first venue of its kind in Southwest Sydney. It’s one-stop, whether it be for the freshest beer brewed right in front of you, a steak prepared on the charcoal grill or a cocktail in The Greenhouse, this venue is brimming with theatre, local produce and entertainment for people from all walks of life,” said Colin Parras of Parras Hospitality, which purchased the Ambervale in 2016.
Ambarvale Brewing Co. also promises to provide craft beers that run the full gamut from pale ales to sours to chocolate stouts, giving locals a place to experiment and expand their palate. This is no doubt tapping into a general trend in hospitality patrons, who are tending to drink less and looking for more bespoke beverage offerings in the way of wine varietals, craft beers and bespoke cocktails.
The Railway Hotel, Windsor, VIC
With many pubs becoming food destinations in their own right, it can be hard to know whether or not to follow suit. Would your patrons prefer an upscaled experience, or more casual no-frills traditional pub grub?
Well, like most things, it’s not necessarily black or white. Sometimes people feel like splashing out; sometimes they’re in the mood for something more low-key.
The Railway Hotel in Melbourne’s southeast proves you can cater for all your patrons’ whims – provided you have the space. On the ground floor, you’ll find the traditional local, with Carlton on tap and pig nuggets and onion rings on the menu. On the first floor is The Deck, a family-friendly bistro that serves a mix of pub classics and sharing plates with a stunning view of the city. And if it’s a particularly special night, you can venture to the top floor, where you’ll find The Highline, a hatted restaurant showcasing head chef Simon Tarlington’s passion for paddock-to-plate cooking and produce from owner Peter McCormack’s family farm in the Strathbogie Ranges.
And if you feel like staying at home? The Railway’s got you covered there too, with a 24-hour bottle shop rounding off this multi-functional hospitality venue.
Young Henry’s, Newtown, NSW
Customers want to be able to make more environmentally conscious decisions in all aspects of their lives – including where they have a beer. And one pub is paving the way, and showing what an eco-friendly pub looks like: Young Henry’s.
It of course helps that they brew their own beer on site, drastically lowering the carbon footprint of their beer by reducing their travel miles. They package most of their beer in cans because they’re better for the environment than glass bottles, plus they weigh less and therefore require less energy to transport. They also encourage recycling and minimise glass production by providing two-litre growlers that customers can get refilled at a discounted rate (not to mention they look pretty cool too). And their leftover grain from the brewing process? It doesn’t go to landfill – instead, over one tonne of it goes straight to local chicken farmers who use it as feed.
And they haven’t stopped there! In a joint project with community sustainability organisation Pingala, the brewery is partly powered by a solar farm on the roof, which prevents 127 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. they’re even helping to spread the word about the benefits of renewable energy, running events to educate the local community about solar.
The Riverton Bar and Grill, Parkton, WA
Security can be a big concern for some pubs – and a costly one too, if a lot of manpower is required to keep things in check. But one pub in Perth has found a futuristic solution: facial recognition technology.
Last year, The Riverton Bar and Grill became the first hospitality venue in Perth to introduce real-time facial recognition technology. Their CCTV security system, consisting of over 40 cameras, captures every patron who enters the venue and is able to match faces with 90 percent accuracy using artificial intelligence. Anyone attempting to enter the pub who has been previously red-flagged by management, who has been identified as being on the statewide barred list or who is under age will set off an alert that is sent to the mobile phones of the security staff and owners, ensuring they can prevent a potentially sticky situation before it occurs.
The system has successfully transformed the venue from one with a bad reputation for fights and antisocial behaviour to one where families are happy to take the kids for a night out. How’s that for a quick turnaround? It’s also just one of the digital trends in the hospitality industry.
Want to learn more about how Australia’s top pubs keep patrons coming back for more? Our free ebook Pubs and Clubs of the Future gives real-life examples of how today’s best-performing pubs deliver more value and generate more revenue. Download it now.