Published on 19 August 2016
New hands at the helm of the historic Bridgewater Hotel are steering the business in new directions, with a string of innovations on their “to do” list.
Amanda and Robert Eastley took over the running of the hotel in June, assisted by two permanent staff members and up to seven casuals.
“We’re both originally from Melbourne, but married later in life and moved to Inglewood,” Amanda said.
“I formerly worked in dentistry, while Rob left a career in the army to retrain as a chef. He’s now worked in three pubs and built up their businesses enormously.”
The couple are concentrating on their restaurant trade, developing their accommodation options and reinvigorating the beer garden with bar service and regular live music.
“It’s going to be a year-long project to get everything organised, but we want to see more functions coming in,” Amanda said.
“We’re looking at events such as weddings, Christmas get-togethers, car club outings, themed social nights, birthdays and reunions.
“We’re already hosting meetings of community groups, plus we have a pool competition and Friday night meat raffle to aid local organisations.
“Coffees, hot chocolates and home-made cakes are now available all day and we put on breakfast of a Sunday morning.
“In summer, we plan to offer breakfast on Saturdays as well, but school holidays will see that extended to every day of the week.
“We intend to try take-away pizzas and have an offer where children under 11 eat for free Mondays and Tuesdays.
“Everything here is fresh or home-made, with 95 per cent of our meat sourced from Inglewood butchery and our house wine from Water Wheel Vineyards.”
Bridgewater had up to 11 hotels in the heady days of the gold rush, but there’s now just the one.
“This building replaced a single-storey structure called the Loddon Bridge Hotel in 1939 and the hotel licence for this site has been held continuously since 1870,” Amanda said.
“They say June and July are quiet months, but we haven’t stopped.”
For more details, contact the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5494 3489 or go to www.loddon.vic.gov.au