Axe-throwing and beer of fortune are just some of the ideas Gunnedah Hotel general manager, Luke Prout, has in store for its revamp.
“The idea would be to set up cricket-net style – [and for safety] a locked gate to get in, and a locked toolbox in there,” Mr Prout said.
“We would also purchase some old vending machines and we’ll pump random cans of beer in there, and then you pay and hit a button and you get what you get.”
Mr Prout, who also owns the Tamworth Hotel, recently bought the Gunnedah Hotel because he and business partner Dan Whitten were looking for a new challenge.
He has many other ideas in mind as well.
“I really want to re-work the beer garden and probably bring in a different food offer,” Mr Prout said.
“We’re thinking of turning the food around every six to eight months; for example, have a Mexican style, then maybe move it to funky Italian or Spanish.”
First things first, though, is the hotel itself.
“Initially, we will re-work the accommodation. It has 30 rooms so that’ll be a nice challenge.”
He will commute to and from Tamworth when the refurbishment begins, but will also set himself up in one of the 30 rooms to stay for a few nights at a time.
Mr Prout is also excited about the acts that will play there.
“I’ll be able to bring the musical acts I have here in Tamworth to Gunnedah,” he said.
“Next Tamworth Country Music Festival I’m thinking of doing a Taste of Tamworth, too, with country music artists for those in Gunnedah who can’t get to Tamworth.”
Ultimately, the top priority for the publican is his customers.
“The main thing is listening to people and getting to know what they want,” Mr Prout said.
“A big thing for us is giving them choice and variety.”
In the future Mr Prout will hold a Meet the Publican night, where community members from Gunnedah can visit and voice their opinions.
“Beers will be on me and I’d love to hear people’s feedback on what they’d like out of the venue,” he said.
Mr Prout expects that the refurbishment will take about a year to complete.