In the 1800s, Thomas Tudor was larger than life. Likely to have been one of the longest serving publicans in Newcastle, Tudor's name is synonymous with one of Hamilton's main thoroughfares, Tudor Street, and once adorned the exterior of his hotel, a popular old pub called The Tudor Family Hotel.
These days, we call it The Hotel Bennett.
After spending the past 33 years under the ownership of John and Betty McCoy, the Hotel Bennett is now in new hands and set undergo a renovation - something that has lovers of the pub, and members of the local community, holding their breath. "As of last week, myself and my family are now the hotel’s owner-operators," hotelier Daniel Turner said.
"My family is originally from Sydney, but I live here in Newcastle now and were also owners of the Lambton Park Hotel, which we sold in August last year."
While Daniel may not have grown up in Newcastle, he said he was very aware of the hotel's significant history, as well as the concerns of locals.
"Our entire focus is going to be on servicing the needs of our local community," he said.
"We started with the Lambton Park Hotel and community was a big focus for us there too. Lambton Park already had a good community feel to it due to existing relationships with local sporting teams and families in the area, and we really enjoyed maintaining that feel for the hotel. The locals were definitely at the forefront of that with 80 per cent of our patrons being on a first name basis.
"With my brother Joel and myself here running the hotel, that's what we want to re-create at Hamilton. We won't be putting a manager in or anything like that, it will be us here onsite."
"Our entire focus is going to be on servicing the needs of our local community..."
Known for its iconic green and white colour scheme and cosy interior spaces, the Hotel Bennett has always maintained a local feel with none of the fuss that sometimes comes with the high-end pub market.
Now with a renovation about to take place, Daniel said he understands why locals are concerned about any changes that might take place.
"First of all, we have no plans to renovate and sell or anything like that. We love the hotel for what it is, with all its character. The work we have planned is really just to tidy it up and bring out its best," he said.
"It's got some great features throughout and we'll be certainly utilising that iconic green exterior tile colour for our branding. For us, this is really about creating a venue that appeals to everyone. The layout is not going to change too much at all other than looking fresh."
According to Daniel, there will be some changes made to the food offering however, with the former Chinese restaurant now closed and a brand new kitchen being installed.
"At the moment we are upgrading the kitchen so we are looking at the possibility of bringing food trucks during the interim. But once it's complete, we are looking forward to utilising Hamilton's food culture to offer something pretty special.
"We're not looking to be just another pub with food, we really want to push the boundaries and offer a consistently changing menu, potentially with slow-cooked meats and sous vide style dishes. We will still have the pub favourites of course, every hotel needs that, but we want to experiment. In saying that, we are aware of maintaining a certain price point that suits our market, so keeping dishes around $30."
"We are looking forward to utilising Hamilton's food culture to offer something pretty special..."
Asked to sum up the future of the Hotel Bennett, Daniel said the plan was to provide a good, friendly, clean and tidy suburban pub.
"In Hamilton there's great larger-style pubs like The Exchange, The Kent and so on, but that's not what we are trying to be," he said.
"We want to focus on our locals, that's our market and that’s what we’re going to do."
*Note: If you want to learn more about the history of pubs across Newcastle and the Hunter go to: wwwedtonks.com.au