6 December 2021

Gundaroo pub closes again as 'Choppy' the publican moves on

| Max O'Driscoll
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The Gundaroo Colonial Inn

The Gundaroo Colonial Inn has had a turbulent 2021. Photo: Camilla Duffy.

It wasn’t for long, but the swan song for outgoing Gundaroo Colonial Inn publican Chris’ Choppy’ Connor has officially come to an end after he reached a mutual agreement with the pub’s owner George Nicola to depart the business.

The pair had been in a dispute since before the pub doors were closed in July, but the beer was flowing at the Inn in early November once again after a NSW Supreme Court ruling. A hearing was set to be held in early December; however, both parties chose to avoid a costly hearing and came to an agreement instead.

Mr Connor’s business partner Scott Harding said that it had become apparent that even if the court ruled in their favour, a business relationship moving forward would be difficult. While the pair are sad to be leaving, Mr Harding said that witnessing the response from the community in their final days was a special feeling.

“It just showed what support the place had for one last hurrah,” said Mr Harding.

“It makes you feel giddy inside. Choppy and I just hope that the sense of community and what that place does for the community can continue and will continue. It’s got a very important role to play in supporting the community, and then the community supports it.”

Man pouring a beer

Outgoing publican Chris ‘Choppy’ Connor behind the bar at Gundaroo Colonial Inn. Photo: Camilla Duffy.

Gundaroo-based Yass Valley Councillor Cecil Burgess said the recent period without a pub had been “pretty hard” for the people of Gundaroo.

“It’s a shame because that’s the community in the pub, and it’s been shut for months, and then it got opened again but only for about three weeks. I went down there on Monday night and there were a lot of people there,” said Cr Burgess.

“I hope it’s open by Christmas time. It’s just bad because it fell right at the election when I go meet people there, and I just couldn’t be there this time because there was nothing there.”

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Owner George Nicola was relieved to put a “very stressful period” behind him and glad that they could come to an amicable agreement for both parties.

“The pub’s been sort of my pet project, and I connect to the community through the pub, so it hasn’t been a very happy time for us, and it was a difficult decision to make,” said Mr Nicola.

“But, I think it was necessary for the community to move forward.”

Mr Nicola expects that the pub will reopen with new tenants within the fortnight, but it will depend on any refurbishments the tenant wants to make.

Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on Riotact.

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