Huntlee Tavern aims to become all-day hub for Hunter Valley community

FRY UP: The Huntlee Tavern serves modern Australian pub food, with a focus on quality steaks.
FRY UP: The Huntlee Tavern serves modern Australian pub food, with a focus on quality steaks.

THE days of just offering one, or even two, meals per day are long gone.

In the contemporary hospitality industry being flexible and available to the needs and desires of the customer are paramount. That's the view of Jason Gavin, the owner-director of the Hunter Valley's newest establishment, The Huntlee Tavern.

The pub opened its doors at 3pm on Friday before a grand opening at 5pm, featuring Cessnock-bred Newcastle Knights legend Andrew Johns.

It was the culmination of five years of planning.

Gavin hopes to make the tavern a hub for the fast-growing community of Huntlee, situated between North Rothbury and Branxton, by offering hospitality up to 19 hours a day.

Huntlee Tavern's cafe opens 7am daily, (except on Sunday, when it runs from 8am), serving Cat's Pyjamas' blend from Seven Miles Coffee, a big and half breakfast, plus cafe favourites like eggs on toast.

"There's a lot of workers travelling through during the week, plus mums and what not with their kids," Gavin says.

"We have a playground for kids, three-storeys and indoor, plus a movie room. So parents can duck in for a coffee and put the kids in there.

"Plus there's the transient people coming to the Hunter Valley for a day. If they're doing a wine tasting tour it might be a good idea to get something in their belly."

The lunch and dinner menu focuses on classic modern Australian pub food.

There's burgers, steaks, pizzas, plus chicken and veal schnitzels, all using locally-sourced ingredients where possible.

"The chefs, between them, have over 100 years experience in the industry," Gavin says.

Every good pub is rightly judged on its beer selection and Huntlee Tavern have a wide range that sticks close to mainstream lager tastes, with Tooheys New, Extra Dry and Old, XXXX Gold, James Squire 150 Lashes and Broken Shackles, Hahn Superdry, Carlton Dry and Heineken on tap. There's also Byron Bay's Stone & Wood for more discerning drinkers.

CHEERS: Huntlee Tavern owner-director Jason Gavin and licensee Craig O'Brien.

CHEERS: Huntlee Tavern owner-director Jason Gavin and licensee Craig O'Brien.

The wine list is predominantly from the Hunter, with Pokolbin's Bimbadgen and De Bortoli featured heavily.

Huntlee Tavern also has a drive-through bottleshop and large TAB area with video walls screening racing and live sport.

After a long planning and building phase, Gavin says interest in the new tavern has grown strongly in the Huntlee and greater Hunter Valley community.

"We're expecting a big crowd," he says. "We're solidly booked for dinner for our opening nights."

Ultimately Gavin believes the Huntlee Tavern is filling a niche in the market as the nearest pubs are situated in Branxton, to the north, and Pokolbin to the south.

"We feel there was a need for another tavern, there's really only the two in the vicinity and we're in between," he says."

This story All day service has arrived in the Valley at Huntlee Tavern first appeared on Newcastle Herald.