Much to like at Bairs

Here’s cheers: Bairs Hotel manager Kris Hocken (left) shares a beer with Shane McLennan of Leongatha building firm SMB, in the new beer garden at the Leongatha hotel.

BAIRS Hotel in Leongatha has been an icon of the town since the hotel opened in 1890 and now there is even more to like.

The hotel’s new beer garden and internal renovation officially opened on Sunday, showcasing a relaxed, charming outdoor area.

Formerly the hotel’s drive through bottleshop, the beer garden is an ideal location to enjoy a relaxed ale on a balmy summer’s evening – and also year round.

A rear wall of the smokers’ room has been removed to join the beer garden with the hotel interior, where there is a new sports bar. There are new tiles throughout the hotel, a new bistro counter, and new male and female toilets.

Manager Kris Hocken said, “Everyone likes to have a drink outdoors on a nice sunny day. It’s a better use of the space and we can use it 12 months of the year.”

The beer garden will be available for private functions and can seat 40 people.

“We might try to do something once a month on a Sunday with a two piece band and a solo guitarist,” Kris said.

The bottleshop closed on Christmas Day 2017 and in February last year, planning of the renovations began. Construction started in November.

Leongatha builder Shane McLennan of construction firm SMB oversaw the project, which has employed local tradespeople since November.

“The whole lot flows together now whereas there was one colour in different rooms and different tiles, so there is a lot more continuity now,” he said.

Mr McLennan was proud to work on the project, saying it was about “locals supporting locals”.

“I always come here. The banter and the atmosphere is good here,” he said.

“I just hope that seeing Bairs have invested in the town, the town comes back and supports them. People need to supports the shops and the businesses.”

The main bar is proposed to be renovated in the future.

Kris thanked the many local tradespeople involved in the project for their contribution.

Bairs Hotel has been a part of a Leongatha’s social scene since it opened in 1890 and has been run by the Hocken family for nearly 21 years, with Kris’ father Greg the owner of the building.

The business employs 14 people in the bar and kitchen.

“It’s very social. There is never dull moment,” Kris said of his job.

“Friendly banter with customers who become more like friends is what makes the job great.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=27357

Posted by on Feb 5 2019. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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