Steve and Tina recently sold their five-acre hobby farm at Long Point to buy the historic Agricultural Hotel in Singleton.
We had a chat to find out more.
Nice to see you, Steve! How was your experience selling your house?
It was awesome, Lindy! Trouble-free, very painless and I’m not just saying it because you sold it for us! It was professional from start to finish.
Good to hear! What prompted you to sell up and buy one of Singleton’s landmarks and iconic pubs?
We loved the pub’s very long heritage and what the AGGI means to Singleton. Thankfully, it hadn’t been destroyed by being overly modernised. It had retained that feeling of what a great Australian pub used to be like and, in our opinion, should be like. We also saw that the hotel and the motel had ongoing potential.
What made you want to run a pub?
We were looking for a new business. Tina had worked in catering, hospitality and pubs, while I had run a couple of licensed bowling centres, a retirement village and had experience in retail. Between the pair of us, we knew we had a lot of the skills needed. We opened the doors two weeks before Christmas in 2019 and haven’t looked back since.
What can you tell about the history of the AGGI?
The pub itself predated the railway station. It’s due for its 150th anniversary of the license this year. Pubs traditionally used to get their names from the industry in the area. As Singleton primarily had an agricultural sector, it was called the Agricultural Hotel. Back in 1920, when Reschs owned it (breweries traditionally owned pubs), they decided to rebuild it. Then it was modernised again in 1956, when the application to Singleton Council had it listed as a modern pub. Thankfully none of the bar’s fixtures had been upgraded since then, so you still get that wonderful old-time feeling.
What does the AGGI mean to Singleton?
Like us, people love the authentic feel. There’s a history of families coming here that span back generations. When we talk to our punters, we’ve got people drinking here that used to go with mum and dad, who, in turn, used to visit with their parents! They love the fact the pub has remained the same as it was when they were growing up.
Tell us about the AGGI’s clientele?
It’s a mixed bunch from contractors and workers, through to families, so it’s kid-friendly. We’re a non-gaming facility. The AGGI didn’t have any gaming machines when we brought it. Tina isn’t one for gaming, neither am I, so we won’t change that. There are 13 other places to go if you want to gamble in Singleton. We want to keep it as a place where people can socialise. Our regulars and visitors always remark on how much they enjoy not hearing or seeing poker machines flashing at them.
Have you made any changes to the pub?
Well, we’ve added traditional food such as Bangers and Mash and Sausage, Egg and Chips to the menu. You can still get your schnitty or steak though. We’ve also added a Pubcade. Retro games arcades are a new trend in the pub industry. We’ve got old machines from the seventies such as Space Invaders and Galaxia, as well as old Wrestlemania and Terminator pinball machines. We now have a Pinball Wizard cash competition for the punter with the highest score. We run it on Sundays from noon and Monday from 6 pm. The current champ is one of our regulars.
Sounds like fun, as well as a blast from the past! Any other fun evenings?
We run Cocktail Karaoke, where we have specials on cocktails and karaoke on Friday nights. Saturdays are our Jukebox night. Every week, we have a different decade; sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. People love to get up to dance.
I’ll get my dancing shoes on!