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It’s a warm welcome back to the Woodside Beach Hotel

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

While country pubs are closing at a rate of knots, there is one old boozer on the South Gippsland Highway that is set for a re-birth.

The Woodside Beach Hotel between Sale and Yarram had been closed since 2016 when a group of Gippsland locals got together to form a syndicate to buy the pub last year. The group included fishermen, farmers and even a former AFL player. Soon the 1849 pub will reopen its doors.

The team have given the old girl some much-needed TLC. Gone are the old dunnies and replaced with more amendable modern amenities. The terracotta tiles have been lifted and replaced with a light, bright and rather rural-looking corrugated iron look roof. Inside and out the old pub has been given a lighter more family-friendly feel.

Woodside is a farming region that backs onto Ninety Mile Beach. It’s a grazing area producing some of the state’s best lamb and beef. Nearby is the commercial fishery of Corner Inlet where fresh whiting and flathead are caught. “All this is something we’re making the most of. Local and seasonal produce,” says syndicate ‘chairman’ Clint Hillas. He adds, “Technically, I’m not a Gippsland man, but I married a local woman so that gets me across the line,” he says with a laugh.

A sample menu reads like a who’s who of Gippsland producers with names like Maffra Cheese and Shaw’s Butchery leading the edibles and Lightfoot& Sons, Tom’s Cap Winery and Grand Ridge Brewery representing Gippsland wineries and brewers. The dishes are simple but good. Great steak, parma, fish and chips, ploughman’s platter. Nothing fancy, just simple grub done well.

The Woodside Beach Hotel is slated for re-opening in August with a 70-seat dining room, public bar and cosy lounge with wood fire and Chesterfield couches called the Cognac Room. There are two beer gardens and soon three luxury accommodation pods will be open for booking.

“This is about local people helping locals,” says Clint. “But everyone is welcome.”


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Woodside Beach Hotel
WHERE: 62 High St, Woodside
WHEN: Opening August
MORE INFO: Woodside Beach Hotel

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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