The Robin Hood Hotel cleared its first floor accommodation area during its recent multi-million dollar renovation, making room for a new restaurant named after its first owner, Lorraine Havin.
The new contemporary bistro Lorraine’s, serves as a homage to Havin, who was one of the first female licensees in New South Wales, the original owner, previous licensee of The Hood and grandmother to current licensee Daniel Whitten.
Whitten told Australian Hotelier: “The opportunity arose to do something different upstairs, which is going to be Lorraine’s Bistro. Lorraine was my grandmother, who was the original owner when she bought the pub in 1979.
“So it’s a bit of an ode to her, and it’s a European inspired bistro serving some pretty cool food from chef Clement Marchais, so hopefully we’re going to open up it up on Wednesday.”
The major renovation of the pub will also see upgrades to the building’s facilities and amenities, restoration of the building’s heritage character, and a new bar creating an entirely new experience. The renovations were originally undertaken to create better accessibility and renew the brand image for the community.
Whitten said: “We looked at the business and it was time for a refresh of the brand and also to do upgrades to the building for accessibility and modern day compliance.
“The other thing is we had a dormant level one of old unused accommodation, and that was really an unused space. So we wanted to activate that. And that’s the main renovation with a restaurant. The cellar was also pretty inefficient so we really wanted to open that up and make it usable as well as, so we built a full commercial kitchen down there.
“When you renovate the business you try and step it up a little bit. I think the one thing that we wanted to do when we renovated The Hood was to keep it as The Hood, because people love it.”
He added: “We didn’t want to depart from what the brand was known for, we just wanted to give it a refresh. We’ve kept happy hour, we’re going back on with karaoke which we’re known for on a Friday night. We’ve got great pub food downstairs, and we really wanted to stick to that formula which people know us for and locals love.”
Aside from the bistro, level one will also boast function spaces and a bar, licensed for 150 patrons until 2am Thursday to Saturday. It also added new amenities including seating, a lift from the ground floor to Lorraine’s Bistro, and an upgraded live music area including stage, audio and sound equipment.
Whitten explained: “The Robin Hood Hotel has always been a strong local pub and we want to keep it that way. I love the Robin Hood, I started working here as my first job out of school and I’m 46 years-old now. So, I’ve been fond of the building, locals and the community for a long time.
“We want the Hood to be a strong entertainment venue where locals know they can get something good to eat and drink in a relaxed atmosphere at any time of the week. We will continue to sponsor local sporting teams and community organisations, as we believe they are the backbone of our local community.
“We look forward to welcoming back our famous trivia on Monday, live music and bands on Thursday, karaoke on Friday and sport on the big screen throughout the week.”
The Robin Hood is the third pub Whitten has upgraded in the last four years, and with each one he has focused on improving the venue to “offer the best hospitality possibly”.
He said: “I try and focus on what I can do. In the last four years I’ve got two other pubs that I’ve renovated; The Tamworth Hotel and the Gunnedah Hotel. I’ve very much focused on trying to offer the best hospitality and to do the simple stuff well.”
The Robin Hood was built in 1938 and has been family owned since 1979. The renovation was designed by H&E Architects alongside Design Miss M interiors, and built by Calida Projects.