New-look Exchange Hotel is almost ready to rock n'roll



It's been a tough year for the hospitality industry, but Zenith Hotels has utilised the downtime well, working hard to complete a multi-million-dollar, two-level, rebuild of the iconic Exchange Hotel at Hamilton, just in time for the venue's 140th birthday.

Due to re-open its doors in just a few weeks time, General Manager and Licensee Gareth Rattley, says the community will be thrilled when they see what's on offer at the new-look Exchange Hotel.

"This is actually more than a renovation, it's a $5 million reconstruction aimed at creating a purpose-built venue to fill a gap our group saw in the market," he said.

"The venue will offer something for everyone with a state-of-the-art live music set-up complete with VIP mezzanine area, a dedicated cocktail bar, sports bar, out-of-this-world dining, and a renovated public bar downstairs."

Rattley, in charge of the entire operation once open, is a seasoned hotel operator with years of experience managing some of Sydney's largest venues including, Coogee Pavilion, The Establishment, and The Beresford.

"This is actually more than a renovation, it's a $5 million reconstruction aimed at creating a purpose-built venue to fill a gap our group saw in the market.."

Zenith Hotels is no stranger to creating successful venues throughout the Hunter, having already made their mark with Shoal Bay Country Club, and more recently, the Beach Hotel at Merewether.


Drawing on their experience presenting high-calibre live music events, particularly at Shoal Bay Country Club, the group is confident The Exchange will please music lovers, with its Live at the X, dedicated live music space featuring a state-of-the-art sound system taken directly from the Sydney Opera House, multi-level views of the stage including a VIP mezzanine level, and cocktail bar.

"Live music will feature multiple nights a week, including everything from local groups and artists, to national and international touring artists," Rattley said.

"High-profile live acts will resume as soon as we are all safely allowed to stand up at the pub again – so like everything in our lives these days, it’s COVID-pending."

And, while music has been known to feed the soul, patrons still need to eat and the Exchange's upstairs bistro, branded ‘The Kitchen’ is set to bring all the classics expected from a pub menu under the motto “classic dishes, done well”.

"The Kitchen will feature a wood-fired pizza oven and fresh house-made pasta with an opportunity for diners to secure a spot at the bar and watch their pizza being made from scratch," Rattley said.

For cocktail enthusiasts, upstairs will house the Swill Bar; set to become Newcastle’s freshest, and potentially finest, cocktail bar.

"The ultimate cocktail bar vibe will be created through adventurous interiors, low lighting, and DJs playing your favourites until 3am," Rattley said.

"The cocktails on offer at Swill are custom designed by award-winning mixologist and Zenith Hotels’ Group Beverage Manager, Brent Tozer.


For cocktail enthusiasts, upstairs will house the Swill Bar; set to become Newcastle’s freshest, and potentially finest, cocktail bar.

Last but certainly not least, the team at Zenith may be from Sydney but they know all about the Novocastrian love of footy and sports and say they would never dream of presenting a venue of this calibre without a world-class dedicated sports bar.

"The one thing just as synonymous with Newcastle as live music, is sport," Rattley said.

"Whether you’re into rugby, footy, AFL, cricket, UFC, or racing The Exchange will become your go to destination boasting the largest privately-owned screen in the southern hemisphere, plus a brand-new TAB and Sports Bar."

The new-look Exchange Hotel will officially launch on Saturday, 26 September.

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Australian Hotels Association 2018