I received a late phone call from a friend who worked for the Newtown Hotel saying the pub was closing and she needed to find a job. I tried to cheer her up saying it was okay, it was just another pub, surely she could get another job quickly.
I now have to apologise to her and all the staff of the Newtown Hotel because it was not until a few days passed that I realised what the Newtown Hotel meant to me.
It wasn’t just another pub, it was like a second home that I had taken for granted and now that it is gone I am more than just a bit lost. I can’t even fathom what my friend is going through.
I am not a big fan of pubs -“ never have been. I don’t drink alcohol so going to the pub is a kind of torture to me, but the Newtown Hotel was different. It had variety by the bucket-load.
I loved going in on a Wednesday night to see Maxi host crab racing. We all knew which crab would win the first race and the final, but still we would back the smaller ones by the bunch just to help raise money for the Luncheon Club. Even the skill tester was unique and the number of odd sex toys that I now own thanks to that machine is embarrassing. Yet it still makes me smile.
It is hard to describe what I have lost as I walk past the pub and sigh. A whole lot of my friends have drifted because that pub closed. I am going through withdrawal.
Yes, I look forward to the farewell drinks at Middle Bar and to the fictional reopening of some form of Newtown Hotel, but right now I miss Jess telling me of her adventures, Jaz keeping me up to date with the latest gossip, Roger’s name on all the pinball top scores and Maxi’s hilarious commentary for crab racing. And then there are all the unforgettable moments my drag sisters and I have had on that stage.
The Newtown Hotel was more than just a pub, it was like having a second family that always welcomed me no matter how long I had been gone or in what state I had left the place the night before.
Sure, there are other pubs in Newtown, but I always loved walking into an environment where I am not judged the second my foot enters a place. That is why I loved the Newtown Hotel and that is why my friends loved working there -“ it was a place you could be yourself within the community.
I guess with its closure the community just got that little bit smaller.

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