Arguably one of the most popular and well-known hotels in Hamilton, the Exchange Hotel has seen its fair share of action over the years.
Once a favourite late-night venue for revelers of every vintage, the hotel has experienced a down-turn of late, but all of that is about to change.
According to Eastern Hotels Group spokesperson Andrew Lazarus, the Exchange Hotel is about to undergo a major internal face-lift designed to bring the pub back to its roots.
"We believe the hotel has a lot of history and we want to turn the Exchange into what we believe it should be, and that's a traditional pub," Andrew says.
"At the moment I don't believe the offering at the hotel is true to it's tradition and the direction we are going to take will be reflective of the venue's history.
"We've engaged a designer to create a fit-out that showcases the traditional pub style with wooden paneling, a return of the fire place, and local memorabilia. We also know there's a strong Italian heritage, not only in this venue, but within the community and we want to recognise and honour that as well through our food offering upstairs."
The Exchange Hotel, Hamilton. Image supplied.
"At the moment I don't believe the offering at the hotel is true to it's tradition and the direction we are going to take will be reflective of the venue's history..."
Andrew says his vision for the hotel in regard to food is a place that people will come to regularly for a wide variety of dishes from burgers downstairs, to Italian and traditional pub food upstairs.
"We want the Exchange to be a place where you can be entertained, have a drink, eat good food, and enjoy pub activities like trivia, karaoke, pool, TAB, Keno, things like that.
"The Exchange has always had the identity of being a meeting place and we want to honour that."
For lovers of live music, the most exciting news coming out of the Exchange is the return not only of local bands, but the possibility of seeing national acts at the venue.
Big name acts like The Radiators, Mental As Anything and Thirsty Merc have been pulling crowds at the Eastern Hotels Group's sister venue Shoal Bay Country Club, and Andrew says seeing a regular line up of similar acts at the Exchange is also part of the plan.
Mental As Anything recently played at Shoal Bay Country Club. Image supplied.
For lovers of live music, the most exciting news coming out of the Exchange is the return not only of local bands, but the possibility of seeing national acts at the venue...
"Part of our fit-out will include paying attention to the live music area," he says.
"We want to turn this hotel into a dedicated live music space and will be taking all the steps needed to create a premier live music venue. All of the acoustic equipment we have at Shoal Bay will be replicated here to make sure the sound is second to none."
Andrew says the live music strategy includes showcasing Newcastle's best local bands on Saturday nights, while Friday nights would potentially see bigger name acts appearing at the hotel.
Sundays will also be dedicated to live music under the banner Live Music on Sundays from 4pm to 7pm, with an official launch featuring local band The Years to be held on 1 July.
Renovations will begin soon and are expected to be complete by the end of 2018.
The Exchange Hotel
125 Denison Street
Hamilton NSW 2302
Ph: (02) 4961 1985
Nikki Taylor is the Australian Hotels Association - Newcastle Hotels Representative