AHA NSW Awards for Excellence 2022 Hunter Finalists Announced

Updated: Sep 8



A short-list of the state’s best pubs and hospitality operators has been released ahead of this year’s prestigious AHA NSW Awards for Excellence.


The list of Hunter finalists includes nominees in 28 categories including Regional Hotel of the Year, Best Live Music Venue, Best Regional Local and Heart of the Community.


Hunter pubs included as finalists for Regional Hotel of the Year are The Nags Head, Adamstown, The Prince of Merewether and The Windsor Castle Hotel at East Maitland.


Former dual winner of Best Live Music Venue The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle is once again a finalist in the category, along with newcomer Huntlee Tavern at Branxton and the Bradford Hotel, Rutherford.


This year’s awards will be the first since 2019 and will be held on Monday, 24 October at The Cutaway, Barangaroo.


“The AHA NSW Awards for Excellence is the pinnacle of our events calendar and celebrates the hard work and achievements of those in our industry,” AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said.


“After missing this event for the past two years due to the pandemic, there has never been a better time to come together and recognise the resilience and innovation of our incredible industry.


“This stand-out list of finalists is proof that despite the adversity and impacts of COVID-19 our pubs are still some of the best in the world.”


This year’s awards will also see the inclusion of a new category - the People’s Choice Award. The new category will allow the community to vote for the chance to win a prize and elevate their local pub to award-winning status.


“We know communities are passionate about their local pub and this new category gives patrons a chance to have their voice heard,” Mr Whelan said.


“We encourage people to take a few minutes to vote for their local and play a role in letting all of NSW know their pub is the best in the state.”


Voting for the People’s Choice Award will open on Friday, 9 September via https://www.ahaawardsnsw.com.au/peoples-choice


A full list of finalists for this year’s AHA NSW Awards for Excellence can be found at https://www.ahaawardsnsw.com.au/


Hunter Finalists Are:


Best Family Friendly

  • The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland

  • Huntlee Tavern, Branxton


Best Live Music Venue

  • The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle West

  • Huntlee Tavern, Branxton

  • The Bradford Hotel, Rutherford


Heart of the Community

  • Hunt Hospitality, Hamilton


Best Regional Local

  • Imperial Hotel Maitland, Maitland

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • Warners at the Bay, Warners Bay


Best Bush Pub

  • Linga Longa Inn, Gundy


Best Outdoor Dining Experience

  • Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond

  • The Bradford Hotel, Rutherford


Best Sporting Entertainment Venue

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill

  • Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond

  • Warners at the Bay, Warners Bay


Best Retail Liquor Outlet

  • Hotel Jesmond , Jesmond

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether

  • The Shortland Hotel, Shortland


Best Draught Beer Quality

  • Bellbird Hotel, Bellbird

  • Harrigan’s Irish Pub and Accommodation, Pokolbin

  • Junction Inn Hotel, Raymond Terrace


Best Cocktail List

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown


Best Marketing Activity

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill


Best Unique Bar Experience

  • The Rum Diary Bar, Newcastle


Best Innovative Refurbishment

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill

  • Great Northern Hotel, Teralba

  • The Kent Hotel, Hamilton


Best Regional Redevelopment

  • Hotel Elermore, Elermore Vale

  • Huntlee Tavern, Branxton

  • Mary Ellen Hotel, Merewether

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether


Best Traditional Pub Accommodation (under $130)

  • Oriental Hotel, Cooks Hill

  • The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland


Best Steak

  • Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie, Largs

  • Sydney Junction Hotel, Hamilton

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether

  • The Burwood Inn, Merewether


Best Parmi

  • Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie, Largs

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill

  • Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown


Best Steak Sandwich

  • Commercial Hotel, Aberdeen

  • The Burwood Inn, Merewether

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • The Shortland Hotel, Shortland


Best Burger

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether

  • The Shortland Hotel, Shortland

  • The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland


Best Cheap Eat Meal (under $15)

  • Huntlee Tavern, Branxton

  • Lakeside Village Tavern, Raymond Terrace

  • The Bank Hotel, East Maitland

  • The Bradford Hotel, Rutherford

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • The Rutherford Hotel, Rutherford

  • The Shortland Hotel, Shortland

  • The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland


Best Regional Casual Dining (Northern)

  • Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie, Largs

  • Commonwealth Hotel Newcastle, Cooks Hill

  • Linga Longa Inn, Gundy

  • Pippis at the Point, Speers Point

  • Shoal Bay Country Club, Shoal Bay

  • The Bank Hotel Maitland, East Maitland

  • Warners at the Bay , Warners Bay


Best Restaurant

  • Atmos, Shoal Bay Country Club, Shoal Bay

  • Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie, Largs

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether


Industry Rising Star

  • Emily Schofield - The Bradford Hotel, Rutherford

  • Joshua Newby - The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland

  • Shannon Weller - The Rutherford Hotel, Rutherford

  • Shayleen Weller - Lakeside Village Tavern, Raymond Terrace


Employee Excellence in Service

  • Jo-Anne Bennett - The Kent Hotel, Hamilton


Regional Chef of the Year

  • Jess Garnham - Lakeside Village Tavern, Raymond Terrace

  • Joshua Lips - The Prince of Merewether, Merewether

  • Nik Bennett - Linga Longa Inn, Gundy

  • Paul Thornton - Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond

  • Ryan Clack - The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland

  • Sam Harman - Harrigan’s Irish Pub and Accommodation, Pokolbin

  • Suman Maharjan - Honeysuckle Hotel, Newcastle

  • Natalie Samaras - Huntlee Tavern, Branxton


Individual Hotel Operator of the Year

  • David McCoy - Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie, Largs

  • Adam Rummery - The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • Tyron Burford - The Prince of Merewether, Merewether


Regional Hotel of the Year

  • The Nags Hotel, Adamstown

  • The Prince of Merewether, Merewether

  • The Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland



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