Newcastle Living Magazine
The Junction Hotel
Situated minutes from Bar Beach, The Junction Hotel is a pub favourite of many locals. Whether you are in the mood for a knock-off drink, a dinner with an old friend or a family Sunday lunch – The Junction Hotel has you covered. Newcastle Living had the pleasure of chatting with owner, Rolly de With to discuss the Hotel in depth.
What have been the main goals for the business in the last few years?
The main goal for The Junction Hotel over the last few years is to be ‘The Local’ for our neighbours, friends and visitors. A place where all who visit feel welcomed and appreciated. Where you can enjoy a magnificent breakfast spread on Saturdays & Sundays, along with gourmet selections for lunch and dinner seven days a week. We also have nine ensuite accommodation rooms, individually themed for visiting friends and relatives, which is also becoming very popular with interstate and international travellers. We have proudly placed number one on various accommodation booking sites over the past years.
What are the main values of the business?
Our main values are to provide our patrons/customers with an unparalleled experience. To deliver exceptional service, offer a bespoke wine and cocktail list and offer an enticing menu with a selection of customers’ favourites from over the years, along with daily unique specials. We aim to make a difference in everyone’s day with a smile and a welcoming can-do attitude. The neon sign above the front bar says ‘The Place to Be’ – we want to be that place every day!
How would you describe the atmosphere and general vibe?
Our general vibe and atmosphere evolves throughout the day. It starts with the energetic, friendly lunch crowd with our wonderful regular ladies who love to lunch, work colleagues taking a break from the office, friends and families catching up for a long lunch and quiet rendezvous of couples catching some time together before school pick up. As the lunch crowd thins out, we welcome our afternoon guests, our revered table of knowledge in the front bar with Norm dispatching life advice to our young staff. Business people winding down and having a debrief over a quiet drink. A much more chilled, calm atmosphere, punctuated with a giggle or a raucous laugh. The evening brings a new exciting vibe with a mixture of regulars, friends and families coming together to enjoy a night away from their devices to catch up, celebrate life, laugh and share a meal together. There’s so much happiness and a real buzz of togetherness. Everyone is loved up.
Which local producers do you support?
We pride ourselves on supporting small local businesses. Our seafood comes from the team at Red Funnel, Williams Fruit & Veg, micro herbs grown by Drew on the Central Coast, best cuts of meat from Hunter Valley Premium Meat, Lakeside Chickens from Blacksmiths, sourdough & burger rolls from Vo’s Bakery and of course the best oysters ever from Dawsons Oysters, Port Stephens. We also have an impressive stable of local Hunter Valley wines, from small & large wineries.
What would you say you are best known for?
We would be best known for our amazing staff with Anthony leading the way, welcoming guests like old friends, always ready to have a chat and to find an impossible table for someone who has forgotten to book. Mardi, who has been at The Junction for many, many years, can see a regular come through the door and have their usual drink ready and waiting. Elements of the interiors have always been a talking point. There are quite a number of regulars who will walk around the glass see-through floor between the front bar and restaurant rather than walking over it. It definitely stops people in their tracks. There is also quite a bit of chatter about the Mens toilets, a bit of fun and games.
What are some of your standout dishes?
We are very fortunate to have an amazing team of chefs with Warren Fouracre at the helm. Many of our customers would be familiar with the Javanese Seafood Curry, Corn Bread with chilli butter, House Crumbed Lamb Cutlets, Ricotta Gnocchi and of course, the Slipper Lobster and Prawn Spaghetti that started off as a one off specials dish and has been in such demand it has graced the specials menu for many months. Warren’s Risotto is also to die for, so if you ever see it on the specials, do yourself a favour and try it. You won’t regret it.
What makes you different from other hotels?
I don’t think we are that different from other hotels. Newcastle and The Hunter are very privileged to have an outstanding number of excellent pubs that offer something unique for everyone. I would say our attention to detail, our amazing staff, exceptional food and beverage, a warm and welcoming environment all contribute to provide our regulars, locals and visitors with a great night out. A complete experience where we hope every person goes away with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
What does your membership include?
The Junction Membership has been a very successful drawcard. It rewards loyal customers with a discount on food and drinks, giveaways in your birthday month, a lucky dip to win a $100 fuel card, $10 off a meal, free glass of house beer, wine or soft drink when dining and a number of other goodies. There is also a chance to win a $50 The Junction Hotel gift card each Friday. Sunday afternoons are becoming very well patronised. We have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner service with a DJ playing chilled out Yacht Tunes in the afternoon and our members draw at 6pm. As they say, you have to be in it to win, in this case, you have to be present to be eligible to win.
What sort’ve functions do you cater for?
We are fortunate to have the space to host large and small gatherings for BIG birthday celebrations, engagement parties and the occasional wedding. Our restaurant space can be divided into three separate areas or the entire restaurant can be booked out for up to 150 guests seated. We have a large selection of gourmet platters for larger gatherings if guests want a stand up, informal event. Our head chef Warren Fouracre is also happy to work with guests to tailor a menu to suit them and the event.
“A place where all who visit feel welcomed and appreciated.”
What are your weekly specials?
Our food is very well received. We get so many compliments on all of the food, but our weekly specials are just that, special. Daily & weekly, our talented chefs create dishes using seasonal produce. They are forever changing. Some have been so popular that customers have asked if they can be part of the permanent menu.
Do you have any future plans for the pub?
The Junction Hotel turns 100 this year. It has operated as a “local” hotel since 1923. Over the years, the pub has seen many operators and has welcomed thousands of guests. We see ourselves as a caretaker for our locals to come and visit, enjoy time out from their busy lives, catch up with friends, enjoy a wonderful meal and to feel welcomed and part of our local community. So many guests say how it feels like you are always among friends and it’s not uncommon for most of the people in the room to know one another from their local neighborhood.