16 May 2023

Feast for senses on tap at Milton pub where revamp makes most of prime position

| Siobhan O'Brien
Join the conversation
hotel building

The back of The Milton Hotel during one of its busy summer afternoons. Photo: The Milton Hotel.

Every town has at least one thing to recommend it – a poignant sculpture, a manicured park or an interesting aspect from a vantage point.

The South Coast settlement of Milton is blessed with many features. The hamlet is perched on a hill where a host of historic buildings nestle into the bucolic landscape. Most homes or businesses on the upper eastern side of the village boast expansive ocean views. Then there are the eclectic eateries and shops. But it’s the historical offerings that set this place apart.

Old-world enthusiasts can doddle 900 metres – or three kilometres depending on which route they take – around the township. Along the way, they’ll be rewarded with a host of architectural edifices from yesteryear.

READ ALSO Brewing up some sweet sounds in Ulladulla’s industrial centre

The main thoroughfare – Princes Highway – features many of these. The Milton Library, previously the School of Arts in 1871, is a handsome building with vaulted ceilings, hefty stone walls and a scholarly vibe. Beside it is the fully refurbished Milton Theatre, which once housed touring lantern shows but now hosts musicians such as Tex Perkins, Deborah Conway and Alex Lloyd. Across the road is the 1860s post office, a two-storey structure that has languished in recent years but awaits the love and care that it deserves.

That’s what the recently renovated Milton Hotel received.

hotel building

The Milton Hotel is in the heart of Milton on the South Coast of NSW. Photo: The Milton Hotel.

Formerly known as the Commercial Hotel, the structure from 1870 was replaced with an improved version around 1888. Downstairs was a popular place for drinking, and upstairs was a place to sleep. The hotel has lived through various incarnations since then, with the most recent a few years back. But the Black Summer bushfires, evacuations and a global pandemic intervened. The construction site languished for about two years.

Chef, brewer and manager of the hotel Damian Martin explains: “It was a difficult time. The plans were ready, the builders were too but there’s nothing to be gained by wrestling with forces beyond your control. It’s hard to reflect upon the extent of the damage wrought upon local businesses and the community. It was beyond anything we could’ve imagined. We’re all just happy to be on the other side of it.”

man at brewery

Dangerous Ales brewer and manager Damian Martin in his Milton microbrewery. Photo: The Milton Hotel.

To everything, there is a season. The thoughtfully restored hotel reopened in 2021 and looks like a better version than it was before. The interiors now feature a large indoor-outdoor dining space, intimate nooks for a contemplative drink, and an exterior deck with views to the sea. After a series of false starts, the kitchen now serves food that’s so delicious it was awarded a hat in the 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. But a standout is the in-house brewery Dangerous Ales, which serves finely crafted ales, including local favourite Crispy Boi Lager.

READ ALSO Distillery scoops two gongs in Snowy Monaro Business Awards

“The business is a family affair,” Martin says. ”I couldn’t have done it without their support. I was lucky enough to have great culinary experiences in London, France and Sydney before I returned to my hometown. The old hotel was an opportunity I had to grab.”

It’s entrepreneurs such as Martin and his family that breathe new life into towns like Milton and keep traditions alive.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.