It has been the lifeblood of the Hinton community for 176 years, a meeting place and a safe haven for isolated residents and farmers in times of flood.
If the walls of the historic Victoria Hotel at Hinton could talk it would be the making of a best seller.
Steeped in history the pub is about to start a new chapter with a relaunch on Friday following its untimely closure in January when former owner Michael Mullane died suddenly.
As a result the premises was sold and purchased by a local consortium, Goldthor Hotels.
Over the past four months the landmark pub has undergone a massive transformation, with a total refurbishment on the ground level.
New licensee Tom Greene said all will be unveiled when the Victoria’s doors re-open on Friday at 5pm.
“Anyone who knows the hotel won’t know it when they walk in,” Mr Greene said.
No stranger to Hunter hotels, Mr Greene is the former licensee of Morpeth’s River Royal Inn, which remains closed after last year’s April super storm. He has also operated The Family Hotel opposite Maitland Hospital and Harrigans at Harrington.
He is ecstatic to again be behind the bar and is looking forward to the challenges the new look Victoria will offer.
“We’ve installed a new bar and kitchen, the outdoor beer garden area has been extended to make provision for live music and the restaurant will operate seven days,” Mr Greene said.
While the pub has undergone extensive change, its new owners are committed to pay homage to its past.
“We have put together an amazing feature wall in the restaurant on the history of the pub,” Mr Greene said.
“It documents the pub right back to 1840 when a punt ferried people between Hinton and Phoenix Park.
“The hotel and its owners have prided themselves on being an integral part of the community, operating as a State Emergency Service base when the town is cut off during floods. It is a central point where supplies are delivered,” he said.
The hotel has never been closed during a flood for 140 years.
The hotel has a large catchment area and will run a regular courtesy bus service.
Mr Greene said rooms upstairs are also poised for a refurbishment with an outdoor dining area and conference facilities on the drawing board.
PEEK back through the archives at how the region's pubs and patrons have transformed.