6 October 2023

Junee's reopened Loco Hotel celebrates local with a new 'speakeasy' vibe

| Chris Roe
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Junee’s Locomotive Hotel is ready to reopen after 3 months of renovations. Photo: Supplied.

The wait is over for patrons of Junee’s Locomotive Hotel which officially reopens this Saturday (7 October) after closing the doors for a major overhaul three months ago.

Co-owner Chris Blanchard said he couldn’t wait to show off the new interior.

“We’ve revamped the whole bar with a different appearance and we’ve gone for that kind of 1930s speakeasy style,” he explained.

“We’ve done it up with black subway tiles on the bar and black pressed metal ceilings and really old-fashioned decor which gives us a whole new look.”

While little has changed on the outside, Junee's Locomotive Hotel is very different inside.

While little has changed on the outside, Junee’s Locomotive Hotel is very different inside. Photo: Supplied.

Chris said the changes were not just cosmetic, with the bar offerings rejigged to focus on supporting local producers.

“We’re really passionate about supporting other regional businesses so pretty well all the products that we’re now selling are from other regional producers,” he said.

“We’re selling beer from the Thirsty Crow and Tumut River Brewery, CSU winery and Borambolla wines, gin from Tumbarumba, gin and vodka products from Beechworth.”

Bar manager Chris Tickle agreed and hoped the clientele would get behind the local selection.

“We are so pleased to open again to serve local patrons and visitors to Junee,” he said.

“I’m particularly excited to be able to support other regional small businesses through the sale of their products.”

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Chris Blanchard said the challenges of the past couple of years inspired them to rethink their approach.

“Obviously through COVID it was pretty quiet in the hospitality industry, but I think it’s given venue owners the opportunity to have a look at their businesses and work on them,” he explained.

“I think in Junee, we’ve got some of the best pubs and hospitality venues in the Riverina and I really encourage people to come and visit not only our venue, but some of the other great venues that we have as well.”

Co-owner Chris Blanchard is looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors to their new ‘speakeasy’. Photo: Supplied.

In keeping with the collegial spirit of the revamped venue, Chris said they would encourage diners to order in.

“It’s the first time that we’ve tried this, and we decided that we didn’t want to introduce any more competition into the market because there’s already lots of great options in Junee,” he said.

“We just really wanted to support those other businesses and they came on board, so we’re partnering with a number of other venues to have food delivered.

“So food can be ordered here at the Locomotive Hotel from a range of other venues, so it means that we’ve got a really wide selection of options for people.”

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With the doors opening on Saturday, Chris hopes the community will be keen to come for a stickybeak at the new setup and stay to sample a local tipple or two.

“I really encourage people to come and have a look at what we’ve done, come and support regional businesses and try and get the hospitality industry going again!”

You can take a sneak peek at the new look here.

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