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'Honey, I bought the pub...' How an afternoon drink turned into the purchase of lifetime

Updated: Feb 26, 2019

New hoteliers Justin Olive and Cindy Foster

It's one thing to pop down to the local for a beer. It's another to come back owning the pub.

But that's exactly what happened one afternoon at Sandy Hollow Tourist Hotel.

When Justin Olive left the house one afternoon last December, he intended to go to his local, the Sandy Hollow Tourist Hotel, for a couple of beers. By the time he got home he had bought the pub.

A former boiler maker, Justin was not the kind of guy who always dreamed of owning a pub, in fact it had never really crossed his mind until that fated afternoon when conversation around the bar turned to the potential sale of the pub.

"A group of us were just chatting with the hotelier and the topic turned to the pub itself. I asked a few questions about the food and how the hotel operated. Then he pulled me aside and asked if I was interested in owning it," Justin said.

"It wasn't officially for sale, it hadn't been listed or anything, it was just out of the blue. I turned to him and said okay, I'll buy it."

While some women may have had an adverse reaction to the sudden purchase of a pub, Justin's long-time partner Cindy Foster took it all in her stride.

"I was surprised, but I agreed," Cindy said.

"We had been considering opening a cafe. Now we own the pub."

"It wasn't officially for sale, it hadn't been listed or anything, it was just out of the blue. I turned to him and said okay, I'll buy it..."

As instant hoteliers, the couple have come across a few challenges, including the somewhat complex TAB system, but believe being long-time locals themselves has its advantages.

"The local patrons are our mates and they were shocked at first, but they love it," Cindy said.

"After Justin said he'd buy it we kept it pretty quiet until the actual hand over, but once everyone found out they were really happy about it."

Justin said the main sentiment in the area is that locals are thrilled to have one of their own buy the hotel, rather than a commercial group from out of town.

"There was some concern that if a Sydney group ever purchased it, it could be shut down or turned into something very different from what it's always been," he said.

"For us, we are going to look at the food and entertainment, we would like to build a deck onto the side, but we want it to stay what it is. Our local pub."

Justin and Cindy will also continue to host the annual Sandy Hollow Charity Horse Ride at the hotel, which this year takes place on Saturday, 27 April.

"The event raises money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service which is important for our community," Justin said.

"All the free camping facilities will still be available down the back and we will have the charity raffles, entertainment and all post-event celebrations at the pub like we've always done."

For more information about the Sandy Hollow Charity Horse Ride go to

To know more about Sandy Hollow Tourist Hotel you can follow them on Facebook HERE.

Sandy Hollow Hotel

1607 Golden Highway (79.79 mi) Sandy Hollow, New South Wales 2333

(02) 6547 4539.

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