There are many places to go around the inland city of Dubbo and it's a surprise to see a 19th-century pub modernised to the bone, pleasing everyone who comes in.
And its current proud innkeeper, as they were called in those days, wants to keep the heritage yet ensure it moves along with the times.
"The vision was to get it to where it is now, what you see Pastoral Hotel as it is now, and for its future to maintain that," Greg Pilon, a born and bred Dubbonian who has put his every penny on restoring one of the city's oldest pubs, said.
"We have plans to re-invent every five years and we're two and half years into it and you'll see more changes...we won't sit idle."
Since Mr Pilon and his business partners purchased Pastoral Hotel at "a good price" just shy of the $3 million mark, the pub built by innkeeper Thomas Moston in 1889 has been transformed into a beautifully restored icon on Talbragar Street.
It's now one of the places to be for lunch, late afternoon after-work drinks, dinners, and weekend soirees popular with local families and visitors, it's customary to see at least 3,500 plates and takeaways go out weekly of its dining room and busy kitchen run by Mr Pilon's wife, Kerrie.
"We pride ourselves on our high food standard, we'd like to think we're like McDonald's you get the same great food every time you're here. When you come for our steak, you're having the best steak in town."
Along with dine-ins, take-aways ordered online through Uber and Menulog also keep Mrs Pilon in the kitchen upstairs on her toes to ensure every food served to their growing customers are meals to satisfy everyone's palate.
On late afternoons, the street carpark is full and the upstairs dining room is buzzing while Mr Pilon is busy managing the cocktail bar and other amenities downstairs with his staff.
"Last night we had catered to 180 people from the cattle show, and on Wednesdays we have trivia nights and Thursdays and late Fridays trading, this pub is always packed and there's always a function going on you can see Dubbo is growing at a huge rate," Mr Pilon said.
It's worth knowing too that Moston built it at a time in Dubbo's "wild colonial days" as local author Tonnette Milling described the town and the pub in the Historic Buildings of Dubbo, with illustrations by Phillip Searl, among the many interesting historical publications found in the local history section of Macquarie Library.
The past president of the Dubbo Museum and Historical Society, Andy G. Graham, also compiled intriguing details of the first 82 years of hotels, pubs and taverns established in Dubbo taken from collections at the State Records NSW in Kingswood.
As Graham's recollections written in 1979 revealed, Pastoral Hotel has stood structurally sound and it has "good bones" as Mr Pilon had described which was significant to the pub's endurance as a local entity adored by many who simply love old pubs.
"We just love this joint because we found it always a solid trading hotel, a good-looking hotel with strong bones," Mr Pilon said.
"We just love this joint because we found it always a solid trading hotel, a good-looking hotel with strong bones."- Pastoral Hotel owner Greg Pilon
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