Tributes have been laid at the doors of the Hinton Pub as the town mourns the death of its publican Michael Mullane.
Mr Mullane died in his sleep on Friday.
The Victoria Hotel paid tribute to its fearless publican on Facebook over the weekend as it broke the news to the village.
“Mick passed away [on Friday] peacefully during his compulsory afternoon nap,” the statement said.
Customers and friends have rallied around Mr Mullane’s wife Ellen and their family.
Some took to Facebook to reveal their shock, while others left bunches of flowers at the pub door.
Wayne Campbell had his last drink at the pub on Thursday night and when he left the Mullanes were still behind the bar.
He was shocked Mr Mullane had died.
Ron Bremmell said it was a huge loss to the community and the pub would never be the same without him.
“I know Mick is looking down from heaven at all of us. Be strong as hard as it must be – Mick I’ll have an extra drink for you tonight,” Paul and Anne Martinovic added.
The pub is the oldest in the Hunter Valley and has been an integral part of Hinton since 1840.
The Mullanes renovated the pub and added a bistro where up to 70 people can dine.
The pub will be closed until further notice.