The owner of Leeton Hotel in the Riverina has stepped out of the region and purchased the Clubhouse Hotel, Royal Hotel and Bottlemart in Yass, in the Southern Tablelands, for an undisclosed sum.
Golden Crown Hotels, which also owns Yenda Hotel and Yanco Hotel in the Riverina, purchased the venues together and took over ownership on 22 June, 2021.
The family-owned company’s Trent Middleton said he likes the hotels’ proximity to Canberra.
“The town has got a high growth rate and I think there’s room in the market for an independent operator,” he said.
Both hotels have changed owners a couple of times in the past three years. However, Mr Middleton said Golden Crown Hotels is here to stay.
“I think we’ll be around for a while,” he said. “I’m a person who buys, I don’t sell.”
Also staying is the original name behind Yass’ longest continually licensed hotel.
Contrary to community wishes, the Royal Hotel became the Yass Hotel under Harvest Hospitality ownership in 2018. It then reverted to the Royal Hotel under the previous owner.
Mr Middleton said the pub should maintain the name the locals know and love.
“I’m a pretty passionate pub person and I believe every pub is different,” he said. “There’s no hotel in Australia that’s the same.
“To the locals, it’s always going to be the Royal and that’s how it should stay.”
The Royal Hotel also used to be Yass’ late-night venue, and Mr Middleton said it could return to its former glory one day.
“Our hotel in Leeton is a late-night venue,” he said. “It’s where all the young people go and we have DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.
“The Royal is a bit lost at the moment. We’re just going to wait to see what the market does and then make some decisions.”
However, there is one change Mr Middleton knows he wants to make to both venues: food.
“We have a pretty big focus on food in our venues,” he said.
“Leeton Hotel has 75 menu items, five to six chefs, and we sell about 2000 meals per week. So the plan is to come up with new menus.
“I’ve been to nearly every licensed venue in Yass so I’ve got an idea of what’s good and what’s not. At the end of the day, everyone’s got beer, but if you’ve got good food people will come.”
Mr Middleton also hopes to make the Clubhouse Hotel more family-friendly by building a kids’ area outside.
“We’ve got a good outdoor area there, but it’s a bit underutilised,” he said.
The venues will be managed by Mr Middleton, his sister, Hannah Middleton, and head chef Rory Walker.
The Clubhouse Hotel is a bar, bistro and hotel with 26 rooms located on the main street of Yass.
The Royal Hotel is also conveniently located further down the main street, and has a newly renovated bar, bistro and courtyard.
The Middleton family hails from Leeton and their first pub was the Yanco Hotel.