WORLDLY CHARM: New owners of the Commercial Hotel, Casino Allan Michael and Mary Bligh at the entrance to the revamped dining area. Photo Samantha Elley/ Northern Star
WORLDLY CHARM: New owners of the Commercial Hotel, Casino Allan Michael and Mary Bligh at the entrance to the revamped dining area. Photo Samantha Elley/ Northern Star Samantha Elley

Pub back in business

THE Commercial Hotel in Casino has had a colourful past but now it is set to have an even brighter future, thanks to the enthusiasm of its new owners.

Former sea captain J.L. Parker erected the heritage-style building more than 100 years ago. In more recent times, the pub had been closed for three months before new owners John Bligh, his sister Mary Bligh and her partner Allan Michael took over the licence.

"We had been looking for a pub for a while, and this one showed huge potential," Ms Bligh said.

"It ticked a lot of boxes for us. It really is a grand old hotel."

The hotel was the operations site of the first Beef Week in 1982, where legend has it one of the cattle was led in to the building and his foot went through the floor.

A strange incident in the history of the hotel happened in 1920, when it was reported in the Richmond River Express Examiner, and also in The Northern Star, that a bolt of lightning had come through a dining-room window and split one of the tables in half yet no other damage was reported.

The new owners are excited to re-open the business and have great plans for the place.

"We want to have the feel of the traditional pub bar where it's a fun and welcoming place to be," Ms Bligh said.

"The dining room and lounge with its huge fireplace is a gorgeous area. We really want to build our food service and use the charm of the building to its potential."

Plans for trivia nights and seafood buffets are in the pipeline and members are welcome to join the social golf and punters clubs.

"We've even got a euchre club starting up in the lounge area on Saturday mornings," John said.

The hotel also has 20 rooms for accommodation, which will be upgraded over time.



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