By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

27 March marks 40 years of operations for Bayfield Hotels, starting with the purchase of the Dee Why Hotel on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1977 by Neville Bayfield and his sons Wayne and Mark – on Wayne’s nineteenth birthday.

The family-owned and operated business currently consists of Dee Why Hotel, Bayfields Liquor Superstore at Dee Why, Bayfields Online and The Light Brigade, but over the four decades the group has also bought and sold The Caringbah Hotel, The Belrose Hotel, Newport Mirage, Narrabeen Sands and The Newport Arms.

In 2015, Wayne’s son Kaine took over as COO of the group, after a lifetime of being immersed in the pub business, and working in every facet of the business – starting out with collecting trollies from bottle shop patrons.

The Dee Why Hotel, the group’s first hotel has come a long way in the last 40 years, as Wayne suggests.

“When I started we had three beers on tap – now over 40 – no TAB, no pokies, no entertainment, not even a ladies toilet in the public bar; just counter meals and a small drive through bottle shop.”

Perhaps the group’s most famous venue was The Newport Arms, which was sold to Merivale in early 2015 – a decision which Kaine says was not an easy one to make: “It was definitely a ‘head first, heart second’ decision.”

Since then, Bayfield Hotels purchased The Light Brigade in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and is now reaping the rewards of adding a rooftop bar and a cockatil lounge to the pub’s offering.

“The rooftop’s been going really well and the Lounge has helped change the vibe of the whole pub. It’s been going strong,” stated Kaine.

While it has been an eventful 40 years for the Bayfields, it is arguably the people involved that have made it a success – especially family. Kaine would not be averse to his children wanting to join the family business if they wanted to.

“Not only me but my sisters and cousins, and even brothers-in-law, have all worked in the pubs and the option will always be here if they want to work in the pubs, we’re more than happy to have them. We love our family and we’ve always worked well as a family. But if they ever want to do something else, we’re not going to make them do something they’re not happy doing.”

At Dee Why Hotel, which has seen many changes over its 40 years in the hands of the Bayfields, patrons have many of different memories of the pub.

“There’s definitely some locals around that I remember from when I was working in the pub [as a kid]. There’s a lot of people that come and talk about the Glider Room or bands they saw at the venue or Jade’s Club, the old night club we had here – depending on the era of when they started frequenting the pub.”

Celebrations for the anniversary will begin on 27 March at Dee Why Hotel, with limited edition brew the 1977 Pale Ale, a collaboration with White Rabbit, sold while stocks last. There will also be trips down memory lane out in display throughout the venue.

Wayne Bayfield has also taken the time to reflect on the group’s achievements.

“Proudly family-owned and operated on the northern beaches, we are honoured to be celebrating this milestone. We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated staff, and the ongoing loyalty and support from our customers, so we thank you.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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