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Dogs are part of the family at this Newcastle West hotel

It’s a dog’s life at this Newcastle pub The Family Hotel owner Steven Forbes and his dog Chief at the bar. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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The Family Hotel owner Steven Forbes and his dog Chief at the bar. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Family Hotel owner Steven Forbes and his dog Chief at the bar. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel. Picture: Sophie Tyler

The Family Hotel owner Steven Forbes and his dog Chief. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook The Family Hotel: Dog Day AfternoonA Newcastle West pub doing things their way. Every dog has its day, or so the saying goes. But at The Family Hotel in Newcastle West, every day is adog’s day.

BEST MATES: The Family Hotel’s licensee Steven Forbes and his dog Chief. Your dog is welcome this Sunday, April 29. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

And not just when a punter is in need of a hair of the dog, either.Staff at the Hunter Street pub love dogs so much that people are welcome to bring theirfour-legged friends along–if they are socialised and on a lead. The breed is irrelevant.

“If the doors are open, your pups are welcome. Canines are welcome at all our events within reason. We actually find dogs are better behaved than most humans,” hotel marketing managerZack Hearn said.

It can get a little loud for dogs on a busy Friday or Saturday nightbut the decision to bring – or not to bring – a dog to the pub remains in the owners’ hands.Food & Wine is tolddogs are particularly fond of Thursday night trivia.

The FamilyHotel opened in July 2016 with a view to becoming a community hub. From day onelicensee Steven Forbes thought outside the square. Takelast year’s inaugural Dog Day Afternoon for example, whichis on again this Sunday, April 29.The event isall about finding dogs good homes and raising money for Dog Rescue Newcastle. Meet the pups between 12.30pm and 2pmfora cuddle; throw back a beer and learn about the adoption process. From 2pm the pub welcomesevery man, woman and, most importantly, their dog.

Why the interest in dogs? Hearn says it has a lot to do with the pub’s core customer base. Many have moved to Newcastle for university study or employment, are renting and have been forced to leave their beloved pets behind.Also, pubstaff want to bring their dogs to work.

They are part of the family, so to speak.

James Cook has been head chef for the past year and likes to keep customers guessing with his menu.He and his team realised vegan diners weresick of chips and salad as theironly pub-grub options. They hosted twovegan “long lunches” recently and both sold out.

“We’re not trying to be yourstereotypical Insta-inspo vegan cafe. Ourvegan food is done pub-style,” Hearn said.

The pub’s stance on poker machines and TAB systems remains firm. They are not welcome. Case closed.

“They suck the life and charisma out of venues. We’ve got goodconversation, great music, cold drinks and hot food. What more do you need?”.

A lot has happened on Hunter Street in the past 18 months. Inner-city light rail construction has left many businesses in limbo –but not the Family.

“As a business, we’ve never been stronger. We’re starting to see a huge group of regulars who frequent us and bring more and more friends in each visit. Subo, Antojitos,Bao Brothers, The Happy Wombat,The Koutetsu –we’re allworking together to build something really special in Newcastle West.”

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