Armatree Hotel wins AHA NSW Best Bush Pub award

Armatree Hotel publicans Ash and Lib Walker celebrate winning the Best Bush Pub title at the AHA NSW Awards for Excellence on Tuesday night. Photo contributed.

Armatree Hotel publicans Ash and Lib Walker celebrate winning the Best Bush Pub title at the AHA NSW Awards for Excellence on Tuesday night. Photo contributed.

The Armatree Hotel is the toast of the town after winning the Best Bush Pub title for the second year running at the industry's night of nights.

Publicans Ash and Lib Walker travelled from their rural home to Pyrmont to attend the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) NSW Awards for Excellence.

They edged out the competition to take out the Best Bush Pub category, with the Nevertire Hotel receiving highly commended.

On Thursday, Mr and Mrs Walker were back at the pub, expressing gratitude to their staff, families and communities.

Mrs Walker said they were incredibly humbled and honoured to take out the award for a second consecutive year and it was a culmination of 13 years' hard work.

It was recognition not only for the couple, but also for the pub's hard-working staff, and the community that supported the events it hosted and kept coming back, she said.

When asked about their secret to success, Mrs Walker said they prided themselves on quality country hospitality and making sure all patrons felt welcome.

"We find it is not only about them having a good time, but a joke and being included with our community," she said.

Diversifying was also proving worthwhile.

"We have really worked to create a destination pub, that brings people to us," Mrs Walker said.

"We have benefited greatly from inland tourism in the winter months with large numbers of campers frequenting the hotel.

"WikiCamps and Country Pub Camping Page on Facebook have been massive for the hotel, with fabulous reviews and bring new patrons through the door and previous visitors coming back.

"We also try to host several larger events each year such as concerts and comedy festivals, where we run passenger trains out of Dubbo.

"This is a great way to get people to and from us in bulk and in a unique way.

"These type of events really put Armatree on the map.

"We are also becoming a very popular wedding destination for our district.

"We feel grateful that brides and grooms want to use our venue for such a special occasion."

The local watering hole has one full-time staff employee and up to 13 casual staff members.

Some things haven't changed over the decades.

"Like all country pubs, Armatree is a meeting place and place of business," Mrs Walker said. "The amount of business that is generated in the pub by people crossing paths and picking up and passing on work.

"The pub will always be the main meeting point of the Armatree district, whether it be for meetings, functions or a casual beer and catch up with friends."